The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for a great deal of sensitisation and enlightenment, regarding the newly-kicked off African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), so as to ensure easy implementation of the trade treaty.
Making the plea at a forum, tagged: ‘African Continental Free Trade Area: Roadmap To A Successful Implementation’, organised by the Chamber in Lagos, its president, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, argued that in spite of the seemingly smooth take-off of the trade treaty, it had become imperative to address some critical parts of the agreement that were yet to be attended to.
According to her, several key issues such as tariff concessions, schedules of service commitment, rules of origin, investment, competition policy and intellectual property rights, among others still needed to be concluded for the trade treaty to be fully implemented.
Mabogunje argued that despite the fact that some African countries had started trading under this new trade protocol; since January, this year, there is still a lack of clarity on the type of value- addition that must occur within an AfCFTA state party for a product to benefit from tariff reduction.
While expressing the optimism of the potential of the new trade treaty to accelerate socio-economic development of the African continent, the LCCI’s boss argued that, if well-implemented, AfCFTA would stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and facilitate the economic diversification of African economies.
“Estimates by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) revealed that AfCFTA has the capacity to expand Africa’s manufacturing output to $930 billion by 2025, from $500 billion in 2016.
“The Brookings Institution see Africa’s economic size rising to $6.7 trillion by 2030 from $3.4 billion in 2019 on the back of a well-implemented AfCFTA,” she stated.
The LCCI boss explained that the decision to put the forum together, by the Chamber, was informed by the need to facilitate discussions among stakeholders on the appropriate policy steps that would ensure speedy and effective implementation of the continental trade agreement.
Speaking at the forum, the Director-General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Mr Victor Liman, noted that for the new trade treaty to make its desired impact in Nigeria, the relevant authorities must be ready to make its implementation seamless and effective, while also ensuring its rigorous enforcement.
“I think three things that will make or mar the policy are either the new trade treaty is effectively and seamlessly implemented or not; whether the partners are complying with the rules or not; and whether the relevant authorities are ready to rigorously enforce the rules,” he stated.
He, however, expressed his organisation’s readiness to partner with groups such as LCCI in sensitising the public, especially the nation’s investors, on how they could make the best use of the treaty.
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AfCFTA: LCCI calls for more enlightenment, sensitisation