AfCFTA: Implementation of framework critical to optimising economic benefits – Committee

The National Action Committee for implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), says implementation of framework establishing the agreement will help Nigeria optimise its gains.

Mr Ogo Chukwura, the Team Lead, Export Market Development of the committee said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Chukwura said that the framework was captured on the trade enablement, adding that the document would be a guide to protect Nigeria from becoming a dumping ground for inferior products.

According to him, a major way to ensure that Nigeria does not accept everything that comes from other countries is to produce its own goods and services.

He said that the committee on AfCFTA had identified opportunities which would be beneficial to Nigeria based on its export capacity.

“We have identified a number of opportunities based on Nigeria’s capacity and items that Africa has greatest demand for. We have the opportunity to supply and build a matrix around it.

“Africa is currently exporting an excess of one billion dollars and we want to take the opportunity presented by AFCFTA to become the primary and preferred supplier of goods and services.

“Programmes have been put in place for businesses to have access to finance and initiatives to ensure that information is communicated to businesses to be aware of market requirements.

“We have started discussions around harmonisation of policies between various governments, regulations of issues on quality standard, certifications and trade policies, to facilitate trade among African countries,’’ he said.

The team lead further said that AFCTA had provided a foundation for the establishment of the continental customs union.

“This is the end goal where there are essentially no borders.

“It is free movement of persons and goods, working with one currency as you have with the European Union. That is the objective but it is a phase implementation,” he said.

Chukwura said that about 12 per cent of Nigeria’s trade was intra-Africa and AfCFTA would ensure it was increased to 25 per cent by 2035.

He also said that AfCFTA could double Africa’s share of world trade if the potential were harnessed.

According to him, AfCFTA is expected to ensure a progressive elimination of 90 per cent tariff

He said that the anticipated impact of the agreement would be growing intra-Africa trade from the current level and double Africa share of world trade from three to six per cent.

According to him, the agreement provides for renegotiation of 90 per cent of the tariffs, which will be progressively reduced to zero over an agreed period of time.

He said that the elimination of 90 per cent of the tariff unit would grow the opportunity for development of regional value chain and import of made in Africa products.

Chukwura said that it would make imporst from Africa cheaper as the tariffs would have been reduced over time.

NAN reports that the objective of AFCFTA is essentially to deepen economic integration of the continent and improve intra-Africa trade through systems of engagement.

The agreement will also facilitate state resolution and address Nigeria’s trading practices.