Philip Clement, Abuja
AfCFTA – As part of measures to ensure the smooth take off of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), concerns relating to transhipment and other trade barriers will be addressed, Secretary General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene has said.
The Daily Times Nigeria reports that Mr. Mene made the disclosure while on a courtesy visit to the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
He said the purpose of his visit was to familiarize with the minister and reiterate the committment of the Secretariat in ensuring a smooth take off of the trade agreement.
He said “Many countries have expressed concerns with regards to transhipment and dumping of goods, among others. Therefore we as a Secretariat are aware that these are genuine and legitimate concerns which we must address to avoid job loses and ensure smooth operations.
“70% of Africa’s GDP is contributed by MSMEs and we want to develop a large capacity to produce and ensure it benefits all segments of the continent.
“It is a market of $3.4 trillion with a population of over 1.2 billion people, as such, we will ensure that all policies are well articulated before take off.
“In the coming days, we will be interacting with the private sector and civil society organizations in Nigeria to ensure that their opinions are widely integrated,” he said.
Speaking on the proposed plans by automobile companies who have indicated interest in investing in the company, Mene clarified that the pending issue lies with the rules of origin and once it is settled, it can be able to attract more Investments into the continent.
Asked how the secretariat will tackle the issue of internal policies of countries that contradicts the AfCFTA, the Secretary General admitted that it is a burning issue which is not peculiar to the African Continent alone.
He however said that rectifying the problem will take some time, while assuring that the Secretariat will synergize with government of different countries to find a lasting solution to the contending issues.
In his response, Minister of trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo said the country is working assiduously to ensure that Nigeria aligns with the vision of the AfCFTA.
He said “A National Action Committee on AfCFTA which has rolled out the implementation strategy, with a view of taking full advantage of the agreement.
“We are working towards submitting the documents to FEC for ratification,”
He maintained that Nigeria remains committed to the AFCFTA Market, regional integration and the advancement of Africa’s industrial objectives.