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The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) and Nigeria Entrepreneurs Forum ( NEF) have started training for stakeholders to prepare toward Nigeria’s engagement in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The two-day training progranme tagged: “Effective Management and Competency Based Leadership Training toward Nigeria’s Engagement in the AfCTA”, drew participants from the department of Investment Promotion, Trade of the ministry among others.
Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry said in Abuja that the training was designed to provide officers with requisite information on the implications of the free trade area agreement.
Sani-Gwarzo, who was represented by Mrs Olukemi Arodudu, the Director, Investment and Promotion Department said the AfCFTA was a vehicle for “Africa’s economic transformation’’.
“It is therefore very critical for the staff of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to be part of its implementation from the beginning.
“Nigeria, specifically with about 200 million populations is a target worldwide in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“To prevent Nigeria from becoming the dumping ground for goods produced in sister African states and other countries, Nigeria has to be very deliberate and strategic in her engagement in AfCFTA.
“I urge us therefore to endeavour to take away from the training as much information as possible that will enhance our performance once the implementation of AfCFTA commences in Jan. 1, 2021,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Sidney Inegbedion, the President of NEF said the training was part of series of capacity building initiatives seeking to widen the scope of stakeholders toward the one-Africa market.
“Nigeria adjudged the largest economy in Africa stands at the threshold of being able to take advantage of the myriad trade and investment opportunities or sit and open its large market for exploitation and dumping.
“The objective of this training is to establish the basis to enable Nigeria to begin to strengthen the capacities of the future actors in policy making and implementation, starting with the staff of FMITI,” he said.
Inegbedion said that topics to be exploited at the training included `’The Policy Mandate and Strategic Role of the Investment Promotion Department’’ and “Background and context of Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement’’.
He said others included “Strengthening the Capacities of Nigeria Enterprises to Engage at AfCFTA’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that following the signing of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade in July 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the constitution of a National Action Committee (NAC).
The mandate of the NAC is to coordinate relevant MDAs and stakeholder groups to implement the trade readiness interventions detailed in the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Report including projects, policies and programmes.
The AfCFTA with its secretariat in Accra, Ghana is a free trade area created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union (AU) nations.
The free-trade area is reputed to be the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and capital and pave the way for creating a Customs Union.
It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent.