The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has tasked FG on the full implementation of AfCFTA arguing that doing so is the only way the country could tap from the huge benefits presented by the trade agreement.
IDE John C. Udeagbala, who let this out at his investiture as the new National President, of NACCIMA. in Aba recently, stated that the full implementation of AfCFTA commenced in January 2021,is in line with the realization of a dream conceived in 1963 during the establishment of Organization of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU).
He pointed out that this giant step by Africa is geared towards creating of the largest trading area of 55 countries and unite over 1.5 billion people with a prospective gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3trillion.
According to Udeagbala, “This is a giant leap towards increasing intra-African trade and creating collective wealth. It is also a bold step to take Africans out of poverty.
“This is why we have focused on it at this conference. We are delighted at the work of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA since its establishment and have been part of its sensitization activities, through the NACCIMA committee on AfCFTA.
The NACCIMA President, promised that the Association will continue to advocate the full implementation of the agreement and ensure that Nigerian businesses harness its full benefits.
Stressing the benefits, he said, AfCFTA will certainly be an important strategy in its quest to ensure Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent; taking note that Nigerian businesses are already strongly rooted in many African countries.
In her speech, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, immediate past National President of NACCIMA, noted that the theme of the conference, which is “The role of the organized private sector in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development: strategic options on trading under AFCFTA, provides opportunity for the chamber movement, to discuss how to bring about economic growth in Nigeria.
According to Aliyu, the theme of the conference is unique, because the importance of the private sector in every economy cannot be overemphasized.
She stated that NACCIMA, as a paramount member of Nigeria economy will continue to champion the course of business, through free enterprise, constructive competitiveness and trade facilitation.
“In line with the objectives of our association, we will continue to contribute ideas for the overall stability of the nation, while promoting growth in the private sector and exploring local and International networking opportunities for business activities.
“NACCIMA as the umbrella body for all city, state, regional, bilateral, multilateral chambers of commerce, including business and professional associations in Nigeria, is willing and eager to partner all stakeholders to ensure private sector operators contribute effectively towards transforming the country’s economy.
Mr. Francis Anatogu, senior special assistant to the President on public sector matters and secretary of the National Action Committee on AFCFTA, the keynote speaker, observed that for Nigeria to trade under AfCFTA, it must have stable environment that would support businesses to florish.
“It remains on us as Nigerians to know the landscape that’s leading us to what we call AFCFTA. If we think we’ll succeed in AFCFTA, by importing from abroad and circulating it, we’re making a mistake”.
He suggested that the focus should be on industrial revolution and production of what the country will consume.
“We must realize that we have to be involved in things that’ll reduce our important bills.
“We have to build on other infrastructure and manage our boders properly. We can’t trade under AfCFTA with an unprotected border and circulation of fake products”.
Anatogu observed that without peace and security, that businesses cannot thrive and urged all citizens to realize their roles in regional integration.
“It’s crucial and only few African countries have companies that are driving towards that. And this is where the private sector ought to take advantage of AfCFTA.
“Aside Dangote that’s spreading across Africa, other Nigerian brands and companies aren’t spreading”.
He urged the federal government to take advantage of AfCFTA, by building a strong private sector that will lead and dominate, noting that Africa is crying for businesses to take advantage of.
According to him, the space is large and a lot of things are lacking in our neighbouring countries yearning for us to take advantage of.
“Nigerian businesses must go out as our banks are going out doing great in our neighbouring countries. We should be the major beneficiaries of AfCFTA. We already have the capacity to take over the African market.
“Intra Africa investment or Africa to Africa investment is important and we can take advantage of it under the AfCFTA, because we can now invest in other neigbouring African countries, by complying in their laws.
He urged local manufacturers to improve on their products, add value to it and push it out there for business success in Africa.
“We must focus on impact investment that solves an existing problem as well as generating income as well for the investors. We must see opportunities that are available by problems that are confronting us”, he stated