Governor of Jigawa State, Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, has said that the impementation of African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement would provide huge export opportunities for products manufactured in Nigeria.
Governor Abubakar made the call in Abuja at the on-going Subnational Strategy Workshop organised by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF.
He said the implementation of AfCFTA in Nigeria supports the backward integration agenda, as it would create job opportunities.
Quoting the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of AfCFTA, he further said AfCFTA could potentially complement Nigeria’s national development agenda, in addition to acting as a catalyst for economic diversification programme.
“This offers Nigerian products and services, preferential access to the huge African market which currently sources over 85% of its products imports from outside the continent and the agreement provides immense opportunities for Nigeria’s service companies to expand to Africa, especially those in financial services, e-commerce and the digital economy” He stressed.
According to him, Nigerian companies have built critical capacity in these sectors and have long desired to expand to Africa but were constrained by trade barriers.
The Governor explained that the agreement will liberalise education, health and transport services which are estimated at about $13.2 billion net imports as of 2017.”
He pointed out that both Federal and State Governments are expected to make the agreement to work by encouraging structural transformation and value chain optimisation including the development of industrial and agricultural processing zones as well as strengthening regulations and quality control of products produced in the country so that they are highly competitive by collaborating with agencies like National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON.
He noted that the early inclusion of Governors in the inception and design phase of AfCFTA would provide sustainability in the long run.
As part of measures to make AfCFTA work in Nigeria, Governor Abubakar advocated improve ease of doing business nationally and sub-nationally by harmonising policies, laws, and regulatory procedures to attract large-scale investments.”
Nigeria signed the AfCFTA in July 2019, while the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ratified the country’s membership on the 11th of November, 2020.
The IMF projects that with full implementation of this agreement, intra-African trade will rise from $50 billion to $70 billion by 2040.