By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is optimistic that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will create employment opportunities for Nigerians only if the nation will incorporate consideration for the agreement into its development plans.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of Governor’s Forum, said that AfCFTA has created new business opportunities for multiple sectors while increasing direct in the economy.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day Subnational Strategy Workshop on AfCFTA organised by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA in partnership with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Fayemi, noted that for the country to be a full beneficiary of these benefits, the nation must embrace trade facilitation.
He said: “With AfCFTA, the country is well on its way to becoming a multisector giant in being a benefactor from benefits such as regional supply chain and job creation.
“However this growth can be achieved better by availing the opportunities enshrined within the AfCFTA with new and improved trade opportunities, creating enhanced regional supply network, domestic job opportunities and capacity building.
“But for Nigeria to benefit fully from these opportunities and position itself competitively, the subnational government should incorporate consideration for the agreement into our development plans.”
Governor Fayemi, further said that Nigeria must maintain it’s leading position in Africa’s integration by eliminating ideological limitations and artificial trade barriers.
“Nigeria is already utilising regional trade opportunities, contributing approximately 76 per cent of total trading volume in the ECOWAS region. AfCFTA will only further enhance this trade, creating new economic opportunities and spurring economic and trade growth.
“We believe AfCFTA has created significant opportunity for Nigeria to drive job creation and capacity building with the creation of a single libralis3 market for trade and services for the Continent. The AfCTA enables both the trade in products and services as well as the human capital,” he said.
The Governor, assured that the Nigeria Governors Forum will continue to partner with the National Action Committee on AfCFTA towards the implementation of the subnational strategic plan.
On his part l, the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otumba, Adeniyi Adebayo, said AfCFTA, provides Africa a combined Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of $3.4 trillion.
Adebayo, who was represented by the Director General of Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Yonov Agah, also said AfCFTA will also eliminate tariffs on 90 per cent of tradable goods over five years for developing countries and ten years for least developed countries and custom unions.
He said: “The opportunity we have been presented with by the agreement is access to a single market in Africa with a population of 1.2 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion.
“AfCFTA will eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of tradable goods over five years for developing countries and 10 years for least developed countries and customs unions like ECOWAS and this will expand market access for Nigeria’s goods and services, which would in turn, catalyse production growth and boost job creation in the Nigerian economy”.
He, urged all stakeholders to collaborate with the National Action Committee on AfCFTA on the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The theme of the workshop is “Creating Economically Viable Communities,”
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