- Says it’ll benefit country’s export, balance of trade
“Nigeria is one of the two countries left to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; typical us, we were going round the country sensitising and to know whether we should join. We should have joined since yesterday. We should show leadership. The whole of Africa is waiting for Nigeria to show leadership.”
Those were the words of Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, yesterday, when he declared support for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and urged Nigeria to sign the agreement, saying that it would boost the nation’s balance of trade.
Africa must sell to Africa first
Speaking during the second National Committee on Export Promotion Meeting in Lagos on the Federal Government’s Zero-Oil Policy, he said: “If we have the largest GDP and have overtaken South-Africa, what are we waiting for? The fact is that if we want to begin to export, we must be the champion of Africa. We must be the Germany of Africa. If we do not drive the economy of Africa it would not drive itself. Africa must sell to Africa first, that should be the cornerstone of our export policy.”
Mr. Olajide Odewale, the Secretary, National Economic Council (NEC), said no economy could survive with just one commodity; hence NEC took the initiative to drive economic diversification through the zero-oil plan.
According to him, the zero-oil plan seeks to increase the foreign reserve to 150 billion dollars in the next ten years and create additional 500, 0000 jobs.
Mr Tunde Akande, Senior Special Adviser to the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Development Finance said the apex bank would replicate its Anchor Borrowers Programme for export promotion.
He said the programme had recorded tremendous impact on smallholder farmers, boosted value chain economy in various local communities and increased sustainable participation of the private sector in agriculture.
He said, as at June 23, N89.5 billion had been disbursed to 398, 704 farmers and supported 10 different commodities across the country under the programme.
Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said the zero-oil plan was an export revolution that involved every state playing a significant role. “The zero oil plan aims at earning at least $30 billion from non-oil sources in the near to medium term as against the current earnings of about $5 billion,” he said.