Tag Archives: AfCFTA

LCCI reiterates call for Nigeria to ratify AfCFTA

 

 

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday restated its call for Nigeria to ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

AfCFTA is a trade agreement designed by the African Union (AU), with the goal of creating a single market followed by free movement and a single currency union.

LCCI President, Babatunde Ruwase,  said at a press briefing organised by the chamber on the state of the nation’s economy in Lagos that it was the first step in the negotiation process.

AfCFTA was signed by 44 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, while Nigeria withheld its assent from the agreement at the 11th hour, citing lack of wide consultations with relevant stakeholders.

President Muhammadu Buhari had explained that the delay in Nigeria’s signing of the agreement was borne out of a desire to ensure that national interests, as well as regional and international obligations were balanced.

Ruwase said: “You will recall that the AfCTA has been contentious in the last couple of months. Nigeria did not just sign the agreement which held March 2018.

“As a result of the concerns raised by the stakeholders, Lagos Chamber of Commerce organised a stakeholders’ forum to discuss the matter.

“LCCI also participated in the forum organised by the Nigeria office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) headed by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe.

“In all of these interactions, we have assurances that safeguard measures would be put in place to protect sensitive sectors of the economy, most of these are in the manufacturing sector.”

He said that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also gave assurances at his quarterly interaction with the OPS that selected sectors of the economy would enjoy protection as impact study would be conducted.

In the light of the foregoing, our position is that we sign the agreement since signing is the only first step in the negotiation process.

“There will be subsequent protocols that need to be discussed and negotiated as they relate to specific sectors.

“It is also our understanding that adjustment can also be made as the process progresses,” the LCCI president said.

He said the entire process and integration arrangement should be viewed as a work in progress, noting that trade issues were not static, but dynamic.

Ruwase said: “It is important to be part of the process in order to influence the direction of the agreement and protect our interest.

“If we can be part of the ECOWAS, we believe that we can also be part of AfCFTA. The safeguard measures in ECOWAS can be replicated in the AfCFTA.

“The reality is that no economy can exist in isolation of other economies.”

He acknowledged that the economy was facing challenges in infrastructure, power and cost of doing business, saying government should sign, while putting measures in place to address the challenges.

“The totality of our economy is not about manufacturing.

“Manufacturing contributes about 12 per cent to GDP; we have services, financial institutions, distributive trade and creative industry, doing very well.

“We have more than manufacturing to offer the world. Let us look at the agreement holistically, because we have a lot to gain by being there,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), had also urged government to ratify the trade deal without delay.

However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had said that government should be circumspect on the decision to sign the AfCFTA, but await the outcome of a credible study that should guide its negotiations.

MAN said its concerns were yet to be addressed, stating that the recently conducted and launched study by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has still not addressed the lapses.

Akinwumi Adesina: Africa must trade smart by ensuring rapid growth

 

 

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that with the rapidly changing world of trade and rising echoes of unilateralism, Africa must trade smartly, starting by ensuring rapid growth in intra-African trade.

Adesina pointed to the important role of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in that regard, saying that, when fully implemented, the AfCFTA would raise the share of intra-African trade in Africa’s total trade from 16 per cent to 52 per cent.

It would also increase the value of Africa’s traded goods and services by $35 billion per year, he added.

He made the remarks in Abuja during a gala dinner organised to mark the 2018 Annual Meetings and 25th Anniversary of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Adesina commented Afreximbank for its achievements, saying that the AfDB was very proud that the institution it helped create 25 years ago had fully come of age.

“Today, Afreximbank is the leader on financing trade in Africa,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of trade finance, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Adesina noted that the AfDB had provided trade finance lines of credit of $650 million and trade finance mitigation support of $250 million to support Afreximbank’s trade finance activities.

He called for strong partnership between AfDB and Afreximbank in the development of export processing zones, especially staple crop processing zones, so as to help transform rural economies based on agricultural industrialisation and value addition.

Earlier, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, permanent secretary in the ministry of finance of Nigeria, which hosted the gala dinner, congratulated Afreximbank on the celebration of its 25th anniversary.

He pledged Nigeria’s continuing support for the bank as it continued to deliver on its mandate of promoting African trade.

NACCIMA: AfCFTA Signing Will Integrate SMEs in Africa

 

 

 

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has said the signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) would serve as a platform to integrate small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) into the regional economy.

The pact would also accelerate women’s trade and economic empowerment.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the President of the association, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, noted that the immediate impact of the AfCFTA could be the loss of revenue from import duties and taxes which may impede the federal government’s current agenda to invest heavily in infrastructure and affect other spending activity.

Thus, the NACCIMA boss stressed the need for the government to step up efforts with policies that would ensure that Nigerian products and services are market ready for the African continent in the shortest possible time.

He added that in order to take full advantage of the AfCFTA when the country finally agrees to sign the agreement, the federal government must intensify current efforts to eradicate non-tariff and regulatory barriers to international trade. These include border delays, burdensome customs and inspection procedures, as well as ensure that multiple licensing and taxes are eliminated.

He argued that a situation where it was easier to import than to export in the continent would defeat the purpose of signing the AfCFTA.
Lawson said, “This is an issue on the top of our national agenda in the field of trade, and we must therefore say a few words about it. The AfCTA aims to create a common market of 1.2 billion people with an estimated GDP of $2.5 trillion.

“At present, over 40 African countries have signed this Agreement. Nigeria was deeply involved in the negotiations from the beginning and indeed we chaired the process.
“We therefore cannot afford to be excluded from a common African market because it is a veritable strategy to raise the competitiveness of African economies in the global economy.

“Clearly, NACCIMA’s position is that our dear country should sign the AfCFTA. We as a country have been closely and long involved with the vision of an African Free Trade Area right from the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now known as the African Union (AU).”

The association urged that strategy for implementation should be worked out to tackle the inherent problems.
“While we continue to address the issues around the AfCFTA, and work on a strategy for implementation to tackle the problems and set up an all-embracing implementation committee in readiness for when it will finally take off.”