The national president of Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, has reacted to the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by Nigeria.
The trade pact was signed by President Muhammadu buhari three days ago, after initially raising concerns about how effective the AfCFTA would be on the Nigerian and African economy as a whole.
The benefit of the AfCFTA: The single market agenda was initiated to reduce barriers to trade through the removal of import duties and non-tariff barriers. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), it is also expected to stimulate intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, creating a 52% increase in trade by 2022, and a vital $10 billion decrease in imports from outside Africa.
While addressing the impact of AfCFTA on Nigeria, Aliyu said President Buhari made the right economic decision by accepting an open border and single market which would significantly grow the African economy.
The AfCFTA began last year after over 30 African countries signed the pact to operate a single market. Nigeria, however, delayed its signature, with the President setting up a Presidential Panel to look into the essence of the AfCFTA and interface with Nigerian stakeholders.
The panel, which was led by Desmond Guobadia, reportedly gave a go-ahead for Nigeria to sign it. It stated,“Our reports show that, on balance, Nigeria should consider joining the AfCFTA”. The panel, however, warned of the risk of countries disguising Western-made products as African-made.
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According to Aliyu, Nigeria can benefit from the open market through partnership among organised private sector. She said there’s need for cooperation, so that both the private businesses and manufacturers can utilise the opportunity provided by the Agreement.
She advised that, now is time to pay attention on the Pan African digital payment platform, Web-based and mobile applications for business, and an African Trade Observatory Portal.
On the part of NACCIMA, Aliyu said there are plans to orientate chambers across Nigeria on the advantage of AfCFTA and how it can be tapped.