By Franklin Alli
“WE will not allow smuggling and other predatory trade practices to continue unchecked, as it undermines our economic development efforts and destroys local industries, leading to job losses.”
Mr. Niyi Adebayo, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, warned at the AfCFTA National Forum, themed: ‘Effective Implementation for Industrialisation and Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria’, ongoing in Lagos.
“The Federal Government is determined to fully implement the terms of the AfCFTA and uphold its commitments on trade and regional integration.
“However, we also will not allow rogue traders to manipulate the rules of origin and disguise goods from outside the continent as made in Africa so as to qualify for duty-free passage,” he said.
He stressed that for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to achieve its goals and boost intra-African trade, deliberate efforts ensuring fair trade must endure.
“Our vision for intra-African trade is that of free movement of made in Africa goods. That is, goods and services made locally with significant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.
“Nigeria’s vision for the AfCFTA is, therefore, free and fair intra-Africa trade that creates economic growth, wealth for investors and businesses, jobs and prosperity for our citizens,” he said.
Adebayo also harped on prioritising the resolution of the bottlenecks that hinder the competitiveness in production and trade, including hard infrastructure such as power and logistics as well as soft infrastructure such as policies, regulations.
He said that enforcement of trade rules, without compromising efforts on trade facilitation and ease of doing business, was crucial to AfCFTA.
On the other hand, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, noted that Nigeria is one of the countries expected to experience the largest absolute expansion and the implementation of the AfCFTA would be a game changer at stimulating intra-African trade.
“Nigeria’s GDP and exports would increase significantly toward African sub-regions, outside West Africa, with most impressive expansions to Egypt, Ethiopia and Kenya.
“Other countries include Botswana, Cameroon, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Kallon said that Nigeria’s exports to its African partners would be most pronounced in agricultural and food sectors, followed by industrial sector, which will offer invaluable opportunities to industrialise through trade,” he said.
“Nigeria’s exports to the rest of Africa will increase by more than 15 per cent in fishery; wearing apparel leather; wood and papers; electronics; vehicles and transport equipment; and machinery,” he said.
The event was co-organised by the Nigerian Government, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and in collaboration with the European Union (EU). Other collaborators include the African Union (AU), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).