The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo Tuesday in Kaduna said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will assist Nigeria to address unemployment and the prevailing insecurity in the country.
Speaking at the official flag - off of the Nationwide sensitisation tour by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA in Kaduna, the Minister said the sensitization was in line with the mandate to prepare Nigeria to take advantage of the AfCFTA Agreement while also mitigating its threats to the Nigerian economy.
He said the core objective of the AfCFTA according to the action Committee is to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.
The nationwide sensitisation he stressed is expected to take the message to the grassroots levels where the bulk of Nigeria's wealth, both natural resources and human talent and economic activities are domiciled and is set to cover all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory".
Represented by the Director, Trade Department in the Ministry, Abubakar Aliyu, the Minister said "The agreement is about promoting industrialization among ourselves, adding that "for us in Nigeria our fortune is determined by oil. Anytime the price goes down, Nigeria goes into recession and when the price stabilize, we struggle to come out.
"The agreement can only succeed when the states key into it. It is important that all the states key into it. Not every body will take their products to Africa.
" The first question we should ask ourselves is what is the source of insecurity, it has root in unemployment, so we need to tackle unemployment. As you are tackling unemployment, if you are producing and you don't have where to sell, then the product will fail. You remember when people come from all over Africa to buy from Nigeria, that is what we are trying to reverse. The more people are engaged in job creation, the less people will be available to terrorism and criminal activities.
"The agreement is what will guide trade in the country, nobody said this agreement will solve all our problem, they are industry that were valuable before, now they are not again."
Speaking earlier, Francis Anatogu, Secretary, the National Action Committee on AfCFTA said, "Our mandate at the National Action Committee is to coordinate the activities of private and public sector at Federal and Sub-National levels to implement AfCFTA for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
"Our strategy is to work with the states based on their areas of comparative advantages and priorities as a way of building up our national export trade and creating jobs at grassroot level", according to him.
The AfCFTA is expected to deliver an integrated continental market of 1.27 billion consumers with aggregate GDP of USD3.4 trillion. Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of these figures largely spread across our states, Nigeria signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Niamey, Niger on 7 July 2019 to promote intra-African trade with other African countries."
It would be recalled that on November 11, 2020 that the Federal Executive Council approved the ratification of the agreement demonstrating Nigeria is on course to participate in trading under the AfCFTA and trading under the AfCFTA commenced on January 1st 2021.
"In this regard the National Action Committee on AfCFTA is working with relevant agencies to establish structures and processes to implement the rules of origin and other arrangements to enable businesses to commence trading under AfCFTA terms."