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NGF tasks states’ to incorporate AfCFTA into development plan

Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), stated that states need to incorporate components of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement into various development plans for the pact to be successful in Nigeria.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day Subnational Strategy Workshop on AfCFTA organised by the National Action Committee in conjunction with the NGF on Tuesday in Abuja, Fayemi, who is the governor of Ekiti State stressed must fully key into it, to get the maximum benefits.

“For Nigeria to benefit fully from this opportunity and position itself competitively, the sub-national governments need to incorporate considerations of the agreement into our development plan,” he said.

The governor raised concern over what he called the revenue-generating mentality of regulatory Agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) amongst others that may hinder the smooth implementation of the AFCFTA.

“We have Customs, I don’t want to go into the details of the mentality of our Customs – which focuses mor

Read also: Nigerian manufacturers urge to look beyond AfCFTA for new investments

“Yes, we all say under the Buhari’s administration as part of the ease of doing business competitive framework, we now allow visa at the point of entry, but those who have gone through that experience will also tell you that trying to bring people in on the visa at point of entry is an experience you will rather not have because is not as smooth will claim it to be,” Fayemi said.

While saying Nigeria needs to overcome challenges that will come with AfCFTA, Fayemi harped on the need to maintain the country’s leading position in Africa’s integration by bringing down ideological limitations and artificial trade barriers.

” Nigeria has a tradition and history of being involved in regional integration both at the African Union level as well as being a foundation member of ECOWAS – our regional economic network, so the basis is already there for trade facilitation, job creation, and expanding economic opportunities for our businesses.

“Ultimately, we will be the beneficiaries if we focus on this and look at the opportunities and challenges, and block the leakages that may make it difficult for us to be a full part in the AfCFTA,” Fayemi stated.

On his part, Yonov Agah, who is the director-general of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), said AfCFTA is a work in progress and has yet to commence as only the framework of the pact that came into force in January 2021.

“The actual trading has not commenced, what commenced in January is just political,” he said.

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