Adopt AfCFTA for the benefit of Nigerians, Northeast stakeholders beg FG

The Northeast Stakeholders’ Forum has recommended that the Federal Government adopts and signs the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for effective implementation and monitoring of economic growth and development.

The AfCFTA Northeast Stakeholders have already adopted three objectives in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP).

The recommendation was announced in a communique issued at the Stakeholders Sensitization and Consultation Forum organized by Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in partnership with Borno at Government House, Maiduguri.

According to the communique, effective coordination and monitoring mechanism be established by the Federal Government to ensure opportunities of AfCFTA are maximized.

The forum also agreed that the free trade agreement is necessary step in the 21st century global economy in dynamic transformation.

The stakeholders yesterday unanimously agreed that trade policy on expanded market for regional integration was in consistent with ERGP to boost cross-border trade.

“This forum underlined the urgent necessity for accelerated implementation action on countervailing measures against transshipment and dumping, predictable, cost effective power supply, reducing costs of funds and improving access to credit,” said the forum in the communique.

It added, “Government should provide micro-credit and trade finance on the platform of the GEEP-BOI to the Northeast and restore historical intra-African Trade Corridors for the zone into Central African countries,” noting that subsequent border closures be avoided.

The 25 market associations also appealed for support from government to fund and complete mapping of Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The Chief Trade Negotiator and Director-General of Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe said: “The visit to the Maiduguri Dikwa, Gamboru-Ngala border to observe the endless line of trade convoys transporting Nigerian products into Central Africa and the unanimous endorsement of the AfCFTA at the geopolitical Forum, mark a turning point in the sensitization and consultation exercise.

“The height of the North-East geopolitical zone sensitization and consultation on AfCFTA was the positive relationship established by stakeholders between trade, cross-border cooperation, security and stability,” Governor Kashim Shettima reiterated the historical of cross border and intra-African trade for economic growth, job creation and prosperity of the Northeast.

Shettima, who was represented by his deputy, Usman Durkwa said that cross-border trade has sustained economic growth with job creation in the Lake Chad Basin.

He said that integration of trade for economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction was critical in the zone and country at large.

He noted that peace and security in the Northeast and neighbouring African countries are built on the foundation of cross-border trade.

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