The National Action Committee of African Continental free trade area agreement had a media parley in Lagos on Monday, as part of sensitization drive to enlightening Nigerians on the benefits of the trade agreement and the need for full participation.
Speaking on the need for Nigeria to be actively involved, Francis Anatogu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters, Secretary National Action Committee on AfCFTA, noted that without economic power, Africa cannot be a major force in world economics.
Adding that the target is to have a Single market (largest in the world) for the free movement of goods, services and persons; progressively eliminate tariffs and non-tariff barriers and to enhance competitiveness among participating countries.
“This is expected impact to double intra-Africa trade flows, currently at 15% compare to Intra-trade in Europe (67%), Asia (58%) and North America (48%); to double Africa’s share of world trade from 3% to 6% over the next 10 years.”
He highlighted the huge opportunities in international trade to include; Preferential access to Africa’s markets worth $504.17billion (goods) & $162bn (services) (source: ITC (2017)); Market expansion opportunities for Goods & Services; Boost to backward integration, local value addition; Opportunity to consolidate hub position in Services; Productivity growth through competition and specialization.
According to him, AfCFTA will promote industrial development and economic growth in Nigeria through the diversification of our revenue streams and the establishment of regional value chains.
“It will provide huge export opportunities in the continent for products manufactured in Nigeria and services rendered by Nigerian businesses, and enhance Nigerian’s economic diversification drive.”
“It will enhance Nigerian’s trading power with other African countries. This is because it will allow Nigeria to negotiate terms of trade with other 54 Member States of the AU as a bloc instead of having to establish different bilateral agreement with each individual nation.”
He explained that the need for sensitization is to promote manufacturing across the country for Nigeria to be able to take advantage of the enormous opportunities the platform affords.
Speaking on the edge that the country has over other African countries, he noted that “Nigerian’s manufacturing sector is more advance than other African countries, thus Nigerian producers are better positioned to take advantage of the rise in-demand. Additionally, the rise in demand will result in higher prices for Nigerian exports in Africa which will incentivize productivity and growth in domestic output.”
“The AfCFTA will make Nigerian businesses more competitive on the global market. The expanded markets and the protected demand for Nigerian-made goods across sectors will lead to the establishment of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones to meet the projected demand. AfCFTA will give Nigerian-made goods easier access to a larger market of roughly 1.3 billion consumers, as opposed to the current Nigerian market of just under 200 million people.”
“The reduction in non-tariff barriers due to AfCFTA will result in increase in Nigeria’s export of commodities, manufactured goods and services to Africa and other continents. This means that Nigerian products and services will become cheaper than imports from other countries and demand will grow.”
“AfCFTA will lift restrictions on foreign investment in otherwise restricted economies. The inflow of foreign capital will also stimulate banking systems by empowering businesses to drive wholesale and consumer lending”
He underlined the huge contribution of the servive sector to the country’s GDP, “The service sector is the greatest contributor to the GDP in Nigeria with 49.73% of GDP in 2019 according to statista.com. Nigeria’s services sector are mature and ready for expansion into Africa, especially financial services, entertainment, transport, ICT and travel sectors where Nigeria has significant comparative advantages. AfCFTA will therefore facilitate their Africa growth plans”
He highlighted a number of AfCFTA Strategic Program that are already underway in the country to include;
“50bn Naira Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), implemented by the FMITI and the 2.3 trillion National Economic Sustainability Plan for export driven economic growth.
1bn Naira Nigeria-Africa Trade Investment Programme (NATIPP) jointly launched by Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), African Export Import Bank (AFREXIM) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC).
NEPC Zero Oil Plan (ZOP), to promote non-oil exports, create at least 500,000 additional jobs and generate a minimum of $150billion.
The Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) for value addition in key priority sectors, to build Nigeria’s competitive advantage, accelerates expansion of the manufacturing sector and broadens industry scope.
Anchor’s borrowers programme (ABP) launched by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to boost the production of key agricultural commodities and value chain development.
One Product One State Initiative of the National Committee on Export Promotion (NCEP).
Harnessing of every stat’s competitive advantages and investment opportunities as contained in the book of states through Nigerian Investment Certification Programmes for States (NCIPS).
Nigerian e-Customs Project approved by FEC and ITAS for fully integrated customs digitalization to aid seamless administration, payments border management, export and import processing. Currently, at post implementation review phase.
Port Digitalization by the Nigerian Shippers Council for more efficient, modernized, cost friendly ports service delivery.
National Economic Diversification Agenda, and National Policy on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).