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Nigeria Concludes Study to Assess AfCFTA Safeguard Requirements

As part of its preparations for the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) billed for January 2021, the Nigeria’s National Action Committee has concluded a study to assess the AfCFTA safeguard requirements.

There are concerns from some quarters in Nigeria that the AfCFTA could be a vehicle for external competition and threat to the local micro, small and medium enterprises which have been struggling in the tough operating environment.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters and the Secretary of the Committee, Mr. Francis Anatogu, who made the disclosure in a statement he signed, told the National Action Committee at a meeting held on 22nd September, 2020 and chaired by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, that “the technical work streams have been established and sector roadmaps are being prepared.”

Presenting the Committee’s progress report on the implementation by the Secretariat, Anatogu stated that: “a study to assess the AfCFTA safeguard requirements has been concluded.”

He added that the Secretariat had on August, started virtual workshops for critical stakeholders aimed to crafting strategy for AfCFTA, adding the workshop will continue till November 2020.

The AfCFTA National Action Committee, at the meeting attended by the Ministers and business leaders, inaugurated some eminent private and public sector players as the AfCFTA Champions to “mobilise technical and financial resources towards implementation and maximization of the country’s share of benefits abound in the continental free trade area”, Anatogu said.

The statement copied to The Commerce Africa read futher:

“The National Action Committee on AfCFTA had identified ownership of the readiness interventions as a critical requirement for the successful implementation of AfCFTA in Nigeria. In view of this, the Committee at its 2nd Steering Committee meeting held on the 22nd of September 2020, inaugurated some eminent Nigerians as “AfCFTA Champions” to mobilise technical and financial resources towards implementation and maximization of the country’s share of benefits abound in the continental free trade area.

“The meeting which was chaired by the Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, was attended by Ministers, senior public officials, business leaders, national leaders of industry and trade associations and labour union representatives.

“The AfCFTA Champions are drawn from the public and private sectors and include Ministers, heads of parastatals and eminent business leaders. The Champions are expected to mobilize policy and business actors, provide steer to the National Action Committee and technical work streams, and drive ownership of readiness programs.

“The AfCFTA Champions from the Public sector are:
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy , Hon Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) Hon. Attorney-General/Minister of Justice, Goody Jedy Agba, Minister of State, Power , Dr Uche Ogah, Hon. Minister of State, Mines & Steel Development, Mr.Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State ,Education, Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Amb Maryam Katagum, Minister of State, Industry Trade and Investment, Sen Gbemi Saraki, Minister of State, Transport, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Hon. Minister of State, Health, Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director/CEO, Nigeria Export Promotion Council.

“AfCFTA Champions from the Private Sector are:
Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah,President, African Export-Import Bank ,Engr Mansur Ahmed, National President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Alh Sani Dangote , President Nigeria Agribusiness Group , Mr. Olumide Akpata, President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Ken Ukaoha, Esq, President National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr. Ayotunde Coker,Chief Executive Officer, Rack Centre Limited, Ms. Funmi Folorunsho, Secretary General, African Ship Owners Association, Hajiya Saratu Iya-Aliyu National President, National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mrs. Irene Robinson Ayanwale, Co-Chairperson, Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries, Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi Chairman, Fintech Association of Nigeria , Ms Adefunke Adeyemi Regional Director Africa, International Air Transport Association, Sir (Prince) ‘Degun Agboade, National President, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Mr. Solomon Vongfa, National President, National Association of Small-Scale Industrialists.

“The Steering Committee meeting was held in line with the Presidential mandate to coordinate all public and private sector stakeholders towards preparing Nigeria for the AfCFTA.

“Welcoming the AfCFTA Champions, the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment said “the AfCFTA is expected to complement Nigeria’s national development agenda and act as a catalyst for the promotion of Nigeria’s economi diversification agenda by providing preferential access to the local products and services in the huge African market”.

“The Hon. Minister identified the roles that the Champions would play in their sectors as: Providing direction in areas of work stream objectives and targets; Mobilise technical and financial resources; Take ownership and facilitate access to key Sector players.

“Presenting the Committee’s progress report on the implementation by the Secretariat, the Secretary and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters, Mr. Francis Anatogu said the technical work streams have been established and sector roadmaps are being prepared. He also stated that a study to assess the AfCFTA safeguard requirements has been concluded.

“Mr. Anatogu reported that the Secretariat had on August, started virtual workshops for critical stakeholders aimed to crafting strategy for AfCFTA. He noted that the workshop will continue till November 2020.

“The Steering Committee commended the work done so far by the Secretariat and technical work streams. The Chairman also said that more AfCFTA Champions will be announced as nominees respond to confirm their acceptance.”

About Babajide Iletogun

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