Nigeria to start trade pact under AfCFTA

The Secretary of the National Action Committee (NAC) on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Mr. Francis Anatogu, has announced that everything is ready for Nigeria to commence trading activities under the AfCFTA.

Anatogu said this at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Export Group Symposium in Lagos recently.

It had been reported that more than a year after the implementation of the trade pact which came into effect on January 1, 2021, Nigeria had yet to operationalize the trade agreement due to structural challenges, Covid 19 and the lack of consensus on trade protocols.

The Secretary, however, said that Nigeria needs to pay attention to trade facilitation, policies, infrastructure, trade information, free movement of people and goods, finance and institutional coordination between the federal government and the federal government. private sector.

“What we are focusing on in 2022 is understanding where the opportunities lie and we have already identified priority areas for the AfCFTA in terms of products and services. We were also able to size them into arrowheads to help us focus on the short term and the frontiers we can focus on in the medium and long term,” he said.

He however stated the need to increase the volume of transactions in the country while supporting and encouraging businesses to take advantage of African markets.

He also highlighted the need to attract global investment in the country’s bid to leverage the AfCFTA.

For him, “At the National Action Committee (NAC), our mission and vision for the AfCFTA is to take 10% of African imports from the world to supply the products and services from Nigeria that are currently supplied by other countries. outside of Africa, but we know that to achieve this, we need to focus on developing the value chain of products and services.”

According to Anatogu, exports from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have increased over the past year, indicating that the next step for Nigeria is to strengthen its manufacturing presence on the continent.

He noted that so far seven countries have started piloting the AfCFTA trade, stating that Nigeria is close to joining, adding that one of the key elements the country is trying to implement place is the preferential trade process to be able to trade under the AfCFTA.

“The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has developed this procedure and is in the process of discussing with stakeholders with a view to adopting and publishing it for businesses to start using,” he said. added.

Earlier, LCCI Chairman, Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole said that the AfCFTA launched in 2021 is the flagship project of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, a blueprint for achieving sustainable development. inclusive and sustainable across the continent over the next 50 years.

He said it aims to boost intra-African trade by providing a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement among member states, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights and trade policy. competition.

He pointed out that the Pan African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) is a centralized payment and settlement infrastructure for intra-African trade and commercial payments, pointing out that this project which is being developed in collaboration with the African Import Bank -export (AFREXIM) will facilitate payments and formalize some unrecorded trade due to the prevalence of informal cross-border trade in Africa.

For her part, President of LCCI, Export Group, Ms. Bosun Solarin, said that actualizing the benefits of the AfCFTA remains elusive and unachievable without an efficient distribution channel in which logistics plays an indispensable role in bridging the gap. between dreams and realities of the AfCFTA. .

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