Lagos, well-positioned to drive AfCFTA ― NACCIMA DG

With a population of over N20million and its status as the 6th largest economy in Africa, Lagos State has been described as very well-positioned to ensure that Nigeria fully leverages the new trade protocol, the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
Speaking at a  reception organized by the Lagos State government for members of the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA, the Director-General of the Nigerian Association of  Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni argued that the success or otherwise of the trade protocol in Nigeria would depend on how well the state was ready to drive the new trade agreement.
According to him,  the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda, an acronym of the incumbent administration’s six strategic development agenda, had already put the state in good stead to drive the new trade deal.
He expressed the hope that the nation’s MSMEs would leverage the treaty to further expand their frontiers and explore other markets in Africa.
“I believe Lagos has what it takes to drive this treaty. The activities of the incumbent, especially its T.H.E.M.E.S agenda put the state in good stead to dictate the pace, regarding the AfCFTA in Nigeria. The success of the treaty in Nigeria would depend on how well Lagos gets involved,” he added.
In his remarks, the Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu explained that one of the strategies being adopted by the committee was to work with the states, based on their areas of comparative advantages.
According to him, Lagos State had been identified to have trade strength in ICT, telecommunication, transportation and financial services.
He added that the core objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.
Earlier, at a meeting with the state governor, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo,  had announced plans by the federal government to establish a trade remedies authority to enforce Rules of origin and guide against fraudulent invoicing.
The Minister also expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to establishing designated competent authority for administering the AfCFTA rules of origin, in the country, as well as automating the process for managing exporter and product registration.
Adebayo said the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA, which he chairs, is collaborating with the National Trade Facilitation Committee domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to facilitate the execution of the regional trade facilitation roadmap.
He highlighted the AfCFTA implementation plans to include the domestication of the AfCFTA Agreement, border enforcement and Rules of origin enforcement, trade facilitation and ease of doing business, production and service capacity growth, power and trade logistics infrastructure, among others.
Responding, Governor Sanwo-Olu, assured of the state government’s readiness to domesticate the policies of the AfCFTA to accelerate the actualisation of the recently-launched Lagos 30-year Development Plan.
According to him, the state government would explore all the opportunities inherent in the AfCFTA Agreement to grow its revenue and GDP base and create employment for youths in the state.

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