African Union Economic, Social, Cultural Council, AU ECOSOCC, Nigeria chapter has counselled the federal government on proper engagement of all stakeholders on the process of ratifying the recently signed
African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA with a view to ensuring inclusiveness for successful pact.
This is even as it charged the National Assembly to give priority attention to discussions on the agreement so as to enhance the process of its ratification.
In a statement issued by the Nigeria Representative on the 3rd General Assembly of the Council, Hon. Oba Olasunkanmi John and made available to our correspondent yesterday in Abuja, the Council stressed the need consult all stakeholders in modelling out measures to address several issues attached to the agreement.
The issues as listed in the statement, include 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.
Oba explained that the 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 added 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, they must be equipped and empowered to do their jobs”, Oba stressed.
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.