Following the Federal Government’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the African Union Trade Policy Ambassador, Adetokunbo Kayode, has called for commitment to its principles and activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in Niamey, Niger Republic signed the AfCFTA agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.
Kayode, in a statement signed by Gena Lubem, Media and Strategy Officer, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for a concerted effort to actualise its benefits.
Kayode, also the ACCI President said that all hands must be on deck to ensure that the Organised Private Sector was involved in all the steps of the Agreement.
He said that it was gladdening that Nigeria had signed the agreement in the gathering of African leaders in Niamey, adding that it was just but one of the steps toward benefiting from the policy.
He said: “The next stage is the ratification phase. The President has done the most significant aspect of it and it is now imperative for us in the OPS to be comprehensively integrated into the agenda.
“The OPS is willing to work with the government in implementing the remaining aspects of the agreement. What is important is to work assiduously toward boosting our local production and cutting down our net import.’’
The trade expert equally called for the speedy implementation of the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government.
He said: “In this regards, the OPS should be allowed to work with government to monitor the programme and ensure that we fix our infrastructure, in terms of power, transportation system, and capacity of the civil servants.
“This is the only way we will remain competitive.
“The ACCI, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and the Pan African Chambers of Commerce and Industry will give Nigeria the technical support it requires to have a seamless implementation.’’
The AfCFTA agreement covers trade in goods, services, investment, rules, and procedures on dispute settlement.
It includes a range of provisions to facilitate trade, reduce transaction costs, provide exceptions, flexibilities and safeguard vulnerable groups and countries in challenging circumstances.