Nigeria can leverage on AfCFTA agreement to boost export, says financial expert
Prof. Uche Uwaleke, Chairman Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Abuja Branch, says Nigeria can leverage on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to boost production and increase export.
Uwaleke made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday departed Abuja for Niamey, Niger Republic to attend the African Union Summit.
Buhari would also participate in the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the AfCFTA.
The extraordinary session of the assembly of the union is expected to launch operational instruments of the agreement establishing AfCFTA.
The instruments included: AfCFTA Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession Portals, Portal on Monitoring and Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers, Digital Payments and Clearing Systems.
Uwaleke said, “It is a good thing that the president is disposed to signing the AfCFTA agreement.
“This is an agreement that involves African countries and it is an opportunity for us in Nigeria to ramp up production and see what we export to these other countries.
“In matters like this, if the smaller countries are not afraid to sign it, Nigeria being the giant of Africa should be in the front,” he said.
He added that beyond creating opportunities for Nigeria to increase export, AfCFTA would strengthen intra continental trade as well foster good relationship among African countries.
“It will boost the economy of Africa and promote trade in the continent.
“AfCFTA will boost intra continental trade and relations among African countries.
“It will also guarantee free movement of people and goods and foster good relationships among citizens of various countries.
“Trade among African countries is low in volume, so this agreement is apt to boost intra continental trade.
“Nigerians are in all parts of Africa and once it is signed, I am sure a lot of Nigerians will benefit where they are.
“It will also boost diaspora remittances to Nigeria,’’ he said.
Uwaleke expressed joy that the single currency initiative of ECOWAS would also come up for discussions at the AU summit.
According to him, the single currency initiative of ECOWAS member countries is an integral component of AfCFTA, so I am sure that would also come up for discussions.
“ECOWAS is thinking of having a single currency by the year 2020.
“This single currency for West Africa, Eco, will further facilitate trade and promote single market for Africa in 2023 and AfCFTA will encourage this.
“Member countries of ECOWAS will no longer look for dollars to do transactions,’’ he said.
He, however, urged Nigeria and other African countries to put in place effective mechanism to check influx of criminals due to free movement of goods and people.
“When you have free movement of goods and people, you also put in place mechanisms to ensure that only people with genuine business interests and without criminal tendencies are allowed into the country.
“AfCFTA agreement do not stop countries from implementing their immigration laws.
“Only those with genuine business should be allowed into the country,’’ Uwaleke said. (NAN)