Members of the organised private sector (OPS) have applauded the Federal Government on the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade area (AfCFTA) agreement but warned that more steps have to be taken by both government and private sector for Nigeria to fully benefit from the continental trade deal.
Recall that the federal executive council (FEC) on Wednesday ratified Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA, ahead of the take-off in January 2021.
In his reaction, Director General, Lagos Chamber of commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr Muda Yusuf, told Vanguard that the decision to ratify the agreement has cleared the uncertainty over Nigeria’s stance on the continental trade deal.
Yusuf stated: “The ratification of AfCFTA is good news. This decision has cleared the uncertainty and anxiety over Nigeria’s stance on AfCFTA. The truth is that we have seen a great deal of equivocation and prevarication over AfCFTA in the last two years.
“The next step is to support the Nigerian private sector to take advantage of the $4 trillion market which AfCFTA presents. To benefit optimally from this, we need to strengthen the competitiveness of our domestic firms, especially those in the real sector. We need to liberate them from the shackles of constraints putting pressure on their costs and inhibiting their competitiveness.
“The quality of our infrastructure needs to improve, our policies need to facilitate competitiveness, our regulations need to support business growth and our institutions need to demonstrate better appreciation of the value of investment and investors in an economy.
“AfCFTA will produce winners and losers across sectors. The vulnerability risks vary from sector to sector. It calls for a review of business models of many firms and industries in the light of new competition forces that will emerge.”
Also commenting, Director General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Amb. Ayo Olukanni, said the AfCFTA ratification by government was a welcome development.
He said: “This is good news and a reflection of our commitment to be part of this historic trade and economic agreement, fully.
“We urge that the relevant arm of government, especially the office of the Attorney General, will promptly prepare the necessary ratification papers to ensure prompt deposition at the Secretariat.
“Notably this ratification now gives us the status of a State Party to the agreement which also gives us a leverage to be an effective player in the scheme of things.”