By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, Chairman, has said that for sub-nationals to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA, they must participate actively in the global value chain.
Badaru who is also the Chairman, National Economic Council Export Promotion Committee, stated this on Wednesday at the Subnational Strategy Workshop on AfCFTA organised by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA in collaboration with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) in Abuja.
The AfCFTA aim to bring together all 55 member states of the African Union covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4trn.
In terms of numbers of participating countries, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union
Mr Badaru, said the AfCFTA provides immense opportunities for Nigeria’s service companies to expand to Africa, especially those in financial services, e-commerce and the digital economy.
He said: “It provides huge export opportunities for products manufactured in Nigeria including priority export products defined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP)”
“The agreement provides immense opportunities for Nigeria’s service companies to expand to Africa, especially those in financial services, e-commerce and the digital economy. Nigerian companies have built critical capacity in these sectors and have long desired to expand to Africa but were constrained by trade barriers.
“The agreement will liberalize education, health and transport services which are estimated at about $13.2Bn net imports as at 2017”.
Baradu, further said that government at all level must put in place mechanisms that would prevent distortions and discrimination in trade and investment under the AfCFTA deal, adding that tax rights under AfCFTA must also be mutually beneficial, including cross-jurisdiction income or profit flows such as withholding taxes on payments to non-residents.
According to him “Encouraging structural transformation and value chain optimization including the development of industrial and agricultural processing zones.
“Strengthening regulations and quality control of products produced in the country so that they are highly competitive by collaborating with agencies like NAFDAC and Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“The early inclusion of Governors in the inception and design phase would provide sustainability in the long run. All stakeholders, especially the government must ensure the continuity of this policy irrespective of a change in administration.
“Improving ease of doing business nationally and sub-nationally by harmonising policies, laws, and regulatory procedures to attract large-scale investment – e.g., increased access to credit, access to land, access to labour & skill, business registration, tax payment, etc.
“Ramping up skills acquisition for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to improve their readiness for sub-national participation in the competitive market emerging from the AfCFTA.
“Preventing distortions and discrimination in trade and investment. Tax rights under the AfCFTA must be mutually beneficial, including cross-jurisdiction income or profit flows such as withholding taxes on payments to non-residents”.
On her part, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning , Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria has undertaken a series of actions to enable it fully exploit the opportunities of the AfCFTA.
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