The Secretary, National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area, Francis Anatogu has said that the first strategic goal in its implementation plan is to grow export capacity of every state in Nigeria to the tune of $1.2bn.
He said this on Monday in Abuja while briefing journalists on a three-day Nigeria/AfCTA sub-national strategic workshop in conjunction with the Nigeria Governors Forum.
The conference which begins on Tuesday will focus on products where Nigeria has competitive advantage.
Based on projections by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by between by $50bn to $70bn in monetary terms, with a 40 per cent to 50 per cent increase over the first 20 years of its implementation.
The AfCFTA will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4trn.
According to Anatogu, the main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.
He said the pact will also expand intra-African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation and instruments across the region and across Africa in general.
He added that the AfCFTA will also re-energize the country’s aspirations for industrialization and position Nigeria as the destination market for goods and services of the highest standards for the 1.2 billion consumers.
He said the workshop is an intervention that will put the nation on course to make the goals a reality.
He stated, “Over the next three days, the NAC-AfCFTA will create a platform to engage and interact with State Technical Working Groups expected to be in attendance, with the goal being to reach an understanding of tailoring their economic and development plans to include the requirements of the AfCFTA.
“It will also ensure the technical working groups [TWGs] are aware of the support available from the Federal government and lay the foundation for a single vision and strategy between Federal and State governments to push the AfCFTA agenda in Nigeria.”
He stressed that NAC chaired by the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otumba Niyi Adebayo and the Secretary of the NAC will continue to coordinate the activities of the public and private sectors and support the States to ensure Nigeria is ready for export trade under the AfCFTA.
In his remarks, the Director-General, Nigeria’s Governors Forum, Aishan Okauru said that the States are ready to partner with NAC, AfCFTA and diversify their economies
Okauru said, ‘’Remember, the Governors Forum is not a party-based organization. The Governors are ready to work with the AfCFTA, NAC with a view to promote their exports and increase their IGRs.
“Every state wants to live without oil, so this opportunity is timely and they are supporting the whole process for the overall economic benefits for the states and Nigeria as a whole.”