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Business News of Tuesday, 17 January 2023


‘AfCFTA will boost export by 15 per cent‘

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will lead to a rise in Nigeria’s export to other African countries by 15 per cent.

He disclosed this at the ongoing 9th edition of the Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC), meeting tagged, ‘African Continental Free Trade Agreement: A veritable platform for African Shippers to mainstream into global trade’, held in Lagos.

Represented by the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, the president said for AfCFTA to have a positive influence on long term investment in productive capacities, the African government must develop appropriate supporting policies, build requisite infrastructure and ensure an educated workforce.

Buhari said: “Specifically, Nigeria’s exports to the rest of Africa would increase by more than 15per cent in fishery, textile, wearing apparel, leather, wood and papers, metals, electronics, vehicles and transport equipment and machinery (for industrial sectors) and in meat and poultry, milk and dairy products.

“Others are, rice, other cereals, plant-based fibers and other crops, fruit, vegetables, nuts, vegetable oils, other food products, beverages and tobacco as well as livestock (for agriculture and food sectors).

“Following the AfCFTA reform, Nigeria’s exports would increase significantly to other African sub-regions, outside West Africa, with most impressive expansions to countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Also, due to her sheer economic size, Nigeria, among African nations, is expected to experience the largest absolute expansion in intra – African exports.”

The president however, advised African countries on the need to make AfCFTA a reality by creating national institutions to implement the agreement.

“It is an obvious fact that making AfCFTA a reality will require creating national institutions for implementing the Agreement, in addition to institutional coordination mechanisms for execution between public sector, private sector and donors.”

That is why the Nigerian Government have intensified efforts aimed at identifying new opportunities for diversification and value chain development under the AfCFTA, and complementary actions considered necessary to overcome the existing constraints to intra African trade.

“This we will achieve through cross-sectoral approach, considering not just trade, but also closely related areas such as agriculture, industry, macroeconomic management and infrastructure development.”

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, said African leaders must embrace tariff liberalisation for intra African trade to thrive.

According to him, there is a need to put adequate measures in place to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers that hamper trading between countries in the continent.

He said that there is a need to create smooth integration of transport infrastructures and trade policies in the sub-region for trade to thrive.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko pointed out that automation has remained the tool to port efficiency.

“The NPA is working with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to deploy Port Community System in Nigerian Ports to bring all stakeholders under one platform for ease of doing business,” Bello-Koko said.