Posted by Leon Usigbe, Abuja | 21 December 2019 | 410 times
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, inaugurates the National Action Committee for the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement Area (AfCFTA).
Speaking at the ceremony at the presidential villa, Abuja, he stressed Nigeria’s support for economic and social integration of Africa, but admonished that the country must have safeguards to fend off injurious practices.
He said: “As you also know, Trade is pivotal to job creation, growth and health of the economy. It is also a key enabler for regional and global integration.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement is an important part of the African Union- 2063 Agenda to promote economic and social integration on the continent.
“We are very hopeful of creating a single African market for “Made -in- Africa” goods and services. This trade, together with the free movement of people and capital will result in a faster integration of African economies.
“As a government, we must ensure that Nigeria’s position remains that, such integration must be rules-based with built-in safeguards, against injurious practices.
“Nigeria’s approach to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement has been very measured and consistent. Our logic was simple, as Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, we cannot afford to get it wrong.”
The president recalled that his administration consulted all key stakeholders and as well conducted a rigorous impact and readiness evaluation.
He added: “It was after these consultations and studies, and satisfactory reports that I signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement on behalf of Nigeria in July this year.
“We know the benefits and understand the challenges. It is clear that for us to fully benefit from this agreement, we must have an implementation programme that reflects our national trade objectives and development plans.
“This, therefore, requires aligning, restructuring existing development projects, programme and initiatives. Where there are gaps, we must address them. Accordingly, we have established the National Action Committee on AfCFTA.”
He told them that its mandate was to support the efforts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, stakeholder associations and businesses to realize the benefits of the AfCFTA while putting measures to address any threats that may arise.
“All parties must work together and not allow any loopholes that might prove injurious to the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
Buhari directed all key Ministers and Senior Government officials to provide maximum support to the Committee.
He further said: “For us as a government, our expectation from this agreement is job creation for our youth, increased the production of our local raw materials and ultimately, exporting quality Made in Africa goods.
“You are to submit quarterly reports on your progress, and I look forward to receiving your first report in March 2020.”
According to the list provided by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, the committee consists of the Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (Chairman), Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning (Alternate Chairman); Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters
Office of the Chief of Staff (Secretary); Director General Budget Office of the Federation; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment; Director General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Development Policy; Office of the Chief of Staff; Director, Technical Services, Federal Ministry of Finance and Director-level representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Other members are Federal Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment; Transportation, Aviation Agriculture and Rural Development, Petroleum Resources, Mines and Steel Development, Power, M. Communications and Digital Economy, Works and Housing and N. Information and Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Also, members are Director and Comptroller level representatives of Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion
Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, Nigeria Ports Authority, and the Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies.
Stakeholder members include National Executive level representatives of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry Mines and
Agriculture (NACCIMA), Nigeria Labour Congress, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Nigeria Economic Summit Group, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Federated Association of Agricultural Commodities Associations of Nigeria and National Association of Nigerian Traders.
Also included in the Committee are representatives of the Technology/Digital Economy Associations, Financial Services, Health, Education and Creative Services sectors. (Nigerian Tribune)
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