African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides Nigeria with preferential access to Africa market worth over $650bn in mostly manufactured goods and services according to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector, Mr Francis Anatogu.
Speaking during an online press conference, Anatogu said as such, it is aligned to Nigeria’s twin national objectives of industrialization and export base diversification.
According to him, AfCFTA is being progressed in two phases. The Phase I Agreement includes the framework agreement, the protocols on trade in goods and services and mechanism for dispute resolution.
“There is also a protocol on the free movement of persons. The Phase II Agreement will focus on competition policy, intellectual property rights and investment.”
He added that Nigeria stands to gain at least 10 per cent of the $640 billion trade.
Already, the National Action Committee on AFCFTA has embarked on sensitization programme of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, including industry associations to explain the implications of the AFCFTA agreements and their roles in the implementation.
Anatogu who doubles as the Executive Secretary of the National Action Committee on AFCFTA said the sensitization programme which started in February 2020 was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be restarted in August through virtual communication channels.
He noted that the National Action Committee was charged to coordinate the activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies and private sector stakeholders to undertake a wide range of actions at the domestic, regional and continental levels as well as prepare Nigerian businesses and the public to take advantage of the benefits of the AfCFTA while protecting them from the identified threats.
According to him, explained, as part of efforts to manage its wide-ranging scope of work, the National Action Committee has set up a technical Secretariat and two subcommittees namely: Domestic Engagement and External Engagement Sub-Committees.
He continued that the Domestic Engagement Sub-Committee scope of work includes to conclude the update of trade policy and harmonize with the industrial policy, develop readiness roadmaps for sectors and thematic areas (including costs & funding options), develop blueprints for specific value chain segments of priority products and services; define market entry strategies for specific products/services and markets, define adjustment requirements and costs, support umbrella stakeholder groups to establish structures to cascade AfCFTA information to their members nationwide; and also to monitor and evaluate progress on the readiness projects implementation.
He revealed that there are over 300 nominees of MDAs and private sector stakeholders working in 14 workstreams within the above subcommittees.
Meanwhile, the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA is currently in stage two of its three-stage implementation work plan.
The objective of Stage II of the work programme, according to the national Action Committee boss is to deliver quick wins, develop work packages and establish processes for coordination, progress monitoring and reporting and channels for stakeholders’ sensitization, education and feedback.
He said progress on the work plan is summarized into assessing implementation requirements in the Agreement, review projects in the Impact & Readiness Report, define the vision, mission and strategic objectives for AfCFTA, conduct assessment of selected African markets, and finally hold strategy workshops.
AfCFTA implements one of the actions in the Abuja Treaty of 1991 and seeks to create a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to deepen economic integration amongst African Countries.
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