From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on the domestication of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in states and grassroots level in Nigeria, the Ogun State Government, on Tuesday, inaugurated a technical working group on the implementation of AfCFTA.
The inauguration followed the visit by members of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA to the state to sensitise stakeholders on the continental trade agreement.
Inaugurating the committee, which members include the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor, Dapo Okunbadejo, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs Kiklomo Longe, Commissioner for Budget and Planning Olaolu Olabintan, the Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Selim Adegunwa, among others, the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, charged members to develop robust strategies and to ensure successful implementation of AfCFTA in the state.
The Federal Government of Nigeria had on July 7, 2019, signed the AfCFTA in Niamey to promote intra-African trade with other African countries.
The agreement was conceived to create a single market for made in Africa goods and services as part of efforts to deepen the economic integration amongst African countries.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Technical Committee, Governor Abiodun, represented by his Deputy, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, stressed that the agreement would further address challenges faced by small and medium scale enterprises in the course of transpiring goods and services.
This, according to him, would yield positive results in the area of free movement of raw materials in the state.
‘As the industrial hub and investment destination in Nigeria, our aim is to continue to leverage on the proximity to West Africa corridor as well as Lagos towards improving Investment in our dear state,’ he stated.
Governor Abiodun appealed to members of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA to synergise with the state technical working group towards the development of the state implementation group.
Earlier in his speech, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, who was represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, said: ‘If Nigeria is to stand any chance of making something out of AfCFTA, it must as a matter of necessity domesticate it at the state and grassroots levels.’
He added that the Committee had commenced a nationwide sensitisation across the states of the federation to ensure that each state find its voice in the overall vision and mission of AfCFTA.
‘Since the bulk of Nigeria wealth of the nation, both natural resources and human talents are domiciled in the states, it goes without saying that if Nigeria is to stand any chance of making something out of AfCFTA, it must as a matter of necessity domesticate it at the state and grassroots levels,’ the minister said.