The Federal Government has urged the Delta State government and its people to key into the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) arrangement and export not just raw materials but value addition, to the larger African market.
Minister for industry, trade and investment, Niyi Adebayo, who spoke in a press briefing in Asaba, the Delta State capital, said that the state should explore potentials in oil palm, aquaculture and other products in the larger African market
The minister, who led the National Action Committee (NAC) on AfCFTA to the state, said Delta and its people have a stake, products and services that have comparative advantage which they could key into and export.
Represented by the director of trade in the ministry, Aliyu Abubakar, the minister said the committee encourages the processing of raw materials and value addition rather than exporting of raw materials.
“That is why we are working with state governments to identify products of comparative advantage to ensure that various programmes and initiatives on exports add value.”
He disclosed that Delta was number sixth state visited to discuss the opportunities abound for made in Nigeria products in the larger African market.
Adebayo said that AfCFTA agreement provided a platform to ensure that every product has origin while assuring that Nigeria would not become a dumping ground for unidentified products from other Africa countries.
He said that the mechanism for settlement and dispute resolutions were also in place to ensure peace among African countries.
He noted that other countries through the agreement have agreed to liberalise 90 per cent of the products to the market. While the remaining 10 percent is left under special and sensitive products that they may wish to keep, he said.
He, however, noted the main objective of the agreement is to liberalise trade so that African countries could trade more among themselves and through that African economies would be integrated.
“As regarding the flooding of the market with substandard products, there are mechanism in place in the agreement.
“The rules of origin is a criteria where participating countries must source their products locally. There is also provision to guide against transhipment of products outside African market.
On his part, the secretary of the committee and senior special assistant to the president on public sector matters, Francis Anatogu, said that AfCFTA came to grow the African market like the intra- European market.