AfCFTA: expert reiterates importance of data usage in further negotiations

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation (CILT), has reiterated the importance of quality data in the negotiations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Mr Reynold Shodeinde, the Assistant Director of the Institute told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday that Nigeria’s strengths, weaknesses,  opportunities and threats would be identified only with proper data. 

“Going into further rounds of negotiations, data is going to be a very important tool for us to argue so that we can have comparative advantage over some things.

“We have our population,  we have our reach,  we have our marginal propensity to consume and to save as a nation.

“We need the committee to look at the NBS and research institutes to come up with relevant and research data to aid the negotiation.

“Nigeria has not been doing too good, based on the World Bank logistics performance index data. 

“One data we must look at is the logistic performance (infrastructure,  timeliness,  service,  border control, ICT network, competency), these are indicators to know whether you are doing well or not.

“We should be able to look at our strength,  weakness,  opportunities and threats based on the data we can get, so data is important. 

“I urge President Muhammadu Buhari in the next rounds of negotiation to bring in people who are data analysts, researchers, core professioners and experts in their various fields to contribute,” Shodeinde said. 

Shodeinde, however,  said that the issue of data in the country would soon be resolved as the private sector was already keying in to assist.

According to him,  private initiatives such as the African Centre for Supply Chain has started releasing report for trade and logistics in Nigeria.

“The private sector is beginning to move in the part of data gathering , interpretation and dissemination so with time we will quickly overcome this in Nigeria.”

According to Shodeinde, one major factor that can also help the country  maximise the gains of the AfCFTA agreement was a good political decision.

He added that this could also be achieved when we have professionals at the helm, managing the various Ministries,  Departments and Agencies of government. 

He said another important factor was a proper regulation of the Nigerian road transport industry.

According to him, road transport provides the last mile opportunity for any goods or services produced in the country and it should be properly regulated.

“The IT facility to track goods is also necessary. 

“It will not be wise for someone in Addis to place an order for one of our raw materials and before it gets to the port for it to depart,  it is bad already. 

“Remember this is a competition, so we must be seen to be winning after the agreement, if we are not the number one choice destination, then we are loosing.

“We must ensure that our local logistic performance index is working. And logistics talks about efficiency,  effectiveness in a time related manner that is not cost effective. “

NAN reports that Buhari had on July 7 in Niamey, signed the AfCFTA, making Nigeria the 53rd country to sign the agreement. 

The signing took place at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on AfCFTA and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities in Niamey.(NAN) 

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