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AfCFTA committee begins development of policies to facilitate trade in Nigeria

AfCFTA committee begins development of policies to facilitate trade in Nigeria
May 03
07:53 2022

The national action committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) says it has commenced the development of policies in collaboration with relevant export agencies for the free flow of trade in Nigeria.

Ogo Chukwura, team lead export market development, national action committee (NAC), disclosed this on Monday in an interview with NAN.

He said the policies would synergise the ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) that have a role in supporting the growth of trade in the country.

Chukwura said the NAC was also identifying the opportunities and developing strategies to help boost trade, adding that infrastructure development was critical to the operating environments of businesses and a key driver of cost.

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He also stated that the committee was partnering with the ministry of industry, trade, and investment to develop a programme that would allow agricultural produces to move seamlessly from points A to B.

“We have engaged agencies such as the NIPC, NNPC, NEXIM, and core institutions based on the overall vision and strategy set up to identify the cross-over between the roles of agencies and coordinate to increase ease of doing business for SMEs,” he said.

“We are also partnering with the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders to ensure security. It is essential to ensure Nigeria is safe, or at least tourist sites are safe, so as to benefit from foreign exchange.

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“We have identified and mapped out the goals, opportunities, and challenges while working to proffer solutions for challenges.

“Our focus rests on creating projects and programmes that can reduce cost, increase efficiency and increase the capacity of SMEs to trade and be competitive.”

Chukwura said power availability for businesses is essential, and NAC is working with relevant ministries and stakeholders to find sources of power that can be made available to business communities.

He said negotiations were ongoing to ensure pricing was kept within the capacity for business owners to pay, adding that the committee was working with relevant ministries to engage on logistics for effective service delivery.

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NAC was inaugurated in 2019. It is co-chaired by Adeniyi Adebayo, minister of industry, trade, and investment and Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget, and national planning.

Its mandate is to partake in concluding ongoing trade reforms programmes at ECOWAS including the adoption of common trade policy, the establishment of an ECOWAS trade policy committee, resolving issues in the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme (ETLS); establishment of an ECOWAS Members peer review and audit mechanism, and amending article nine on ECOWAS protocol on decision making.

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