Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
State Governors have stressed that necessary measures should be in place to ensure that the country reaps the maximum benefits from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), signed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend.
This is even as they noted that with capacity building, Nigerians would benefit immensely from joining what has been described as the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55-member states of the African Union.
Governors Aminu Masari (Katsina), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) who were part of the President’s delegation to the 12th Extra Ordinary Summit of the African Union to Launch the operational phase of the AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger Republic, spoke to reporters on Monday.
According to them, the deal will increase the volume of trade and boost the economy. Governor Masari stressed the need for capacity building to enable manufacturers produce high quality goods that can compete favourably with other countries.
He said: “I think it is very important because Africa is a big market of 1.2 billion consumers. And with the capability, industriousness and entrepreneurship, some may use African prices to be packaging instead of producing. So, I do believe for Nigeria, it’s a big opportunity. The market is there, the opportunities are here and with the level of entrepreneurship in Nigeria, I believe we will take advantage of that.”
He added: “I think there is the need to invest more in human development that can raise the level of competency in Nigerians in terms of having quality production that can compete because there will be competition, especially from South Africa and some others that may use other technologies to come through.
“I think there is the need to emphasize more on training, bringing up the level especially of technicians, artisans in terms of having enough to compete…”