As Nigeria government commences the process of rectifying the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the African Union Economic Social Cultural Council (AU ECOSOCC) Nigeria chapter has counselled the Federal Government on proper engagement of all stakeholders to ensure inclusiveness.
It also charged the National Assembly to prioritise the ratification process of the Agreement when the need arises.
The Nigeria Representative on the 3rd General Assembly of the Council, Oba Olasunkanmi John, while emphasising this in a statement issued to journalists in Abuja yesterday, said stakeholders needs to be consulted in modelling out measures to address several issues such as non repatriation that could make the agreement counter productive, while ensuring that exporters are encouraged with incentives and ease of operations like it is done in other countries.
He said micro component as it relates to the critical mass of young people who function in the informal sector conducting cross border trade must be taken into consideration so as to encourage young entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the agreement.
He explained that taking steps to engage and mainstream as well as build the youth entrepreneurs’ capacity to function productively is critical to achieving the overall objective of the AfCFTA.
“It is very important that all stakeholders especially the private sector are critically engaged to address several issues that may put Nigeria at disadvantage. Issues such as export procedures/strategy, documentation and certification, technical regulatory regime, Notification management Process (SPS & TBT), among many other issues are properly addressed to ensure that Nigeria’s ability to leverage on this provision of AfCFTA commitments is not incapacitated.
“ECOSOCC will also want to point out the important of involving Nigerians in diaspora, the local by considering the need to translate the article of AfCFTA to our local languages. This is to afford Nigerians to be properly sensitised.
We also call for regulatory reforms that aims at a clear, concise, transparent legal framework for Nigeria (National & Sub Nationals) and the need for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on modernization of infrastructure for electronic processing of trade documents and related data exchange, including IT systems, especially capitalising on the Easy of Business programme of the administration.
While all agencies involved in monitoring, management and certification of standards on products that comes and goes out of the country such SON, NAQS are properly trained, equipped and empowered to do their jobs.
He said as part of the Council’s mandates to assist Member States popularise and domesticate Africa Union agenda, the Nigeria chapter will continue to work with the government to ensure the popularisation of the agreement.