Nigeria can now extend her banking and financial services across Africa, following the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This is according to Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
While speaking at the 12th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN), Osinbajo said despite the available opportunities, there was a need for Nigeria to boost her exports, which could not be achieved without improving infrastructure.
Osinbajo’s words: “With the signing by the President of the African Continental Free Agreement, there are great opportunities and challenges.
“We have great opportunities to extend the reach of our banking and financial services across Africa where we are already making waves, and export more where we are already exporting, especially in fast-moving goods, cement and now fintech.
“However, we must improve infrastructure to expand our manufacturing base, and produce cheaper; this is crucial because we are also the target market for all Africa.”
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[READ MORE: MAN raises concerns over AfCFTA]
The signing of AfCFTA: On Sunday, July 8, 2019, President Buhari signed AfCFTA, joining over 50 other African countries in ratifying what is being considered as the largest free trade agreement in any continent in the world.
- As widely reported, the trade treaty is expected to encourage trade relations in Africa by removing tariffs for over 90% of goods traded between member countries.
- However, concerns have been raised that Nigerian manufacturers will be exposed to dangers, following AfCFTA signing. Meanwhile, Nairametricshas provided a detailed analysis of the trade agreement’s cost and benefits, as it affects businesses in Nigeria and the economy.
Concerns: A recently released report attested to the negative impact of AfCFTA. The report stated that the trade agreement among African countries would cause a surge in importation when it comes into full force. It was learnt that the importation rate of Nigeria will shoot up to 251% within 15 years.
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The new report is a research work done by the Centre for Trade and Development Initiatives of the University of Ibadan. The report stated that the increase in importation would be driven by the goods currently attracting 20% import duty.
According to the report, Nigeria had the least import penetration in Africa from African countries.
The research work commissioned by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to investigate the potential impact of AfCFTA on the manufacturing sector, as well as its offensive and defensive imperatives, stated that the free trade would negatively affect output in the sector in Nigeria, most importantly, motor vehicle and miscellaneous assembly, chemical and pharmaceutical and electrical and electronic industries.