By Felix Kassim
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, says Nigeria has put in place mechanisms to ratify African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) agreement within the shortest possible time.
Adebayo, who stated this during a visit to his office by the Secretary-General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene, said an action committee on the trade pact has been established with a view of taking full advantage of the agreement.
He said following several engagements with relevant stakeholders, Nigeria is currently in the process of securing approval to ratify the agreement, adding that the country remains committed to the AfCFTA market, regional integration and the advancement of Africa’s industrial objectives.
Also speaking, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA secretariat, who is in Nigeria for his first official visit, urged Nigeria to ratify the agreement to take up its leadership role in the continental trade deal.
While saying that the Late Director General of Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Mr Chiedu Osakwe, was one of the few persons that midwifed AfCFTA, Mene said Nigeria stands to gain a lot from the trade pact, especially in the area of industrialisation and job creation.
According to the AfCFTA scribe, three major automobile companies from Asia have already expressed readiness to invest in Africa under the continental trade pact.
While saying such investment would benefit Nigeria and other AfCTA member countries, Mene called for the speedy ratification of the agreement in the country.
“On the 5th of December when we will be having our next summit, I believe the domestic process will be completed and the instrument of the agreement will be submitted,” he said.
Mene commended the acting Director General of Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Mr Victor Liman, for his robust efforts in ensuring that Nigeria leverages AfCFTA for rapid economic development while at the same time ensuring that the concerns and interest of the country receive great attention.
He assured that the secretariat would leave no stone unturned to address concerns raised by some countries in the area of dumping of goods, rules of origin, among others.
Recall that Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in 2019 but is yet to ratify the continental trade pact for it to come into force in the country. The AfCFTA secretariat is domiciled in Accra, Ghana.