The Nigeria’s Secretary of the National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr. Francis Anatogu has foreclosed possibility of some international trade malpractices that may stem from the operations of the CFTA, allying fears in some quarters that free trade is a potential threat to the economy.
Anatogu, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters, stated this on Monday at a maiden virtual press briefing on the activities of the Committee chaired by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo.
According him, “the preferential market access under AfCFTA is not automatic as traders are required to prove origin of their goods, failing which they would pay the usual CET duties.”
On instrument of ratification which some twenty-two African Countries have deposited theirs with the African Union Commission, Anatogu said works are at verge of conclusion to submit the documents to the National Executive Council for approval and subsequent deposition with the AU.
On potential trade benefits of AfCFTA to Nigeria, he noted that “the AfCFTA provides preferential access to Africa market worth over $650bn in mostly manufactured goods and services. As such, it is aligned to our twin national objectives of industrialization and export base diversification.”
He added that Nigeria is working out its Rules of Origin for AfCFTA that is more elaborate and stringent with sustained education and sensitization of everyone in the international trade value chain.
He noted that sensitization programme started in February 2020 but was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be restarted in August via virtual communication channels, adding the “National Strategy for AfCFTA billed for conclusion in September 2020.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on 20th December 2019, inaugurated the National Action Committee chaired by the Hon. Minister of Industry Trade and Investment and with the Hon. Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning as Alternate Chairperson 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.