Call for policies to drive process
The Federal Ministry of Industry,Trade and Investment, has called for workable and patriotic policies that would support businesses to grow amidst the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA regime.
Permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige made the call at the final validation of the Nigeria AfCFTA Implementation Strategy by stakeholders in Lagos.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Dr. Simone Omoezomo insisted that the policies must be sensitive and work properly for them to achieve the desired results.
According to Dr. Ngige, the charge is to come out with policies that are capable of improving trade for Nigeria first and then Africa.
“It’s to ensure that policies are sensitive. If they do not work properly, it would not turn out well.
“The policies that would improve trade for Nigeria first then for Africa”.
A former Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Mr Francis Anatogu, noted that the stakeholders were doing a lot to properly sensitize businesses in the country on how they would maximize the opportunities provided in AfCFTA.
He said that right now, the nation’s strategy for the trade agreement was being validated with a view to adopting choices that would make the country competitive.
While acknowledging that there is a lot to be done, Mr Anatogu pointed out that the strategy has clearly outlined deliberate choices based on markets accessibility, areas the nation have comparative advantage, among others
According to him, deliberate efforts must be done to prepare Nigerian businesses to be able to trade in Africa and beyond.
Mr Anatogu identified areas that require urgent action to include addressing foreign income problem, increase of local production and facilitation of international trade.
He emphasized that part of the objective of the validation was to better inform Nigerian actors to be able to make better choices and reposition themselves.
Mr. Anatogu noted that once the strategies are validated, the document would be sent to the Chairman of the National Action Committee, for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
Mr. Anatogu also said that they have identified policies that would need updating and others to be put in place.
In his words, ” What we have today is a revenue problem, foreign income problem and the way out is to increase production, increase productivity and increase international trade.
” We are validating the strategies and also sensitizing businesses on choices for better positioning.
” Once the strategies are validated, it would be sent to the Chairman of the National Action Committee, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment and required approval of the Federal Executive Council.
“Within the Strategy document, we have identified policies that would need updating, policies to put in place.
” At the end of the day, some of these policies would need to be backed by law leading to update of laws that we have already and creation of new laws to make sure Nigeria leads Africa.
” Something else that is significant with what we are doing today is that trade is technical and complex, so understanding how each company in Nigeria can trade and win is important.
“It is not enough to produce everything under the AfCFTA; the little that you produce can form an input for bigger production in Nigeria or bigger part of Africa.
It’s about collaboration with the rest of Africa and essential improving trade.