Connect with us

Economy

AfCFTA: NANTS wants Ghanaian govt. to tackle insecurity, review trade laws

Published

on

The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has urged Ghanaian government to review its trade laws and tackle insecurity to successfully host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat.

 

NANTS President, Mr Ken Ukaoha, made the call on Tuesday in a letter conveyed to President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana.

 

Describing the president as a sound and respected lawyer of repute, NANTS boss advised him to look into Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act 865 (2013), enacted to phase out and replace the previous GIPC Act 478 (1994).

 

“”Kindly peruse section 27 thereof, which stipulates that “a non citizen or an enterprise which is not wholly owned by Ghanaian citizen shall not invest or participate in sales of goods or provision of services.

 

““It is our most humble submission that such provision in all intents and purposes conflict with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Treaty and Protocols and presently, the AfCFTA objectives.

“This should be reviewed as it contravenes the ECOWAS Inter States Road Transit Convention (ISRT) and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) which are building blocks to the AfCFTA.

Ukaoha, a legal practitioner said latter law was repealed by section 152(1) of Customs Act 891 of 2015 and considering that no such fees were imposed at the seaports and airports for the transit import trade.

He said since the upcoming AfCFTA implementation presented a huge opportunity for countries to review domestic trade laws to agree with the continental space, it became instructive that Ghanaian government should amend its laws.

Ukaoha frowned at the unlawful collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on transit services, as VAT should be pro-rated and charged on only the distance covered in the Ghana territory, in direct adherence to the existing VAT Law 2013 (Act 870).

He therefore urge Ghanaian government to propel parliamentary review of other domestic laws to come in consonance with extant regional and continental trade laws, which Ghana has willingly signed on to and committed to promote and protect.

Ukaoha, however, congratulated Ghanaian government and Ghanaians for winning the bid to host the secretariat of AfCFTA.

He noted that the hosting right was a victory for entire people of ECOWAS and conferred greater responsibility on Ghana.

“”This responsibility is the practical commitment to upholding the protection of lives and property of Africans living in Ghana.

“Its citizens should practice free and unhindered trade, anchored on the Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services which is the foundation of the AfCFTA’s building blocks,” he added.

Ukaoha said Nigerian traders expected Ghanaian government’s assurance of improved security that could cleanse past ugly records by guaranteeing the rights of not only Nigerian traders, but all Africans living and doing business in Ghana.

“”NANTS wishes to commend the laudable efforts made in the past few months by your Security Agencies, especially the Ghanaian Police, in guarding against unprovoked attacks on Nigerian traders and their means of livelihoods.

“”Unfortunately, it was reported all over Ghanaian media that an MP for Suame Magazine in the Adshanti region, who incidentally is the Majority Leader in the Ghanaian Parliament was calling for ‘enforcement of laws banning non-Ghanaians from engaging in their legitimate buying and selling in the Country.

“”In order to guide against needless humiliation of Ghana’s integrity herein secured by the hosting of AfCFTA Secretariat, you need to weigh down on politicians who masquerade as leaders and fan the embers of xenophobic attacks against citizens of other nationals trading in Ghana.

““Hostilities would not take us to the tripod path of economic prosperity, regional integration and peaceful co-existence enshrined in the AfCFTA objectives.

““If attacks and harassment of the community citizens continue, it would rubbish the AfCFTA, and more importantly, destroy the integrity of Ghana.

Economy

AfCFTA: Feedback expected from Heads of State on feasibility of July 1 take-off — Sec. Gen

Published

on

Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat,  says a recommendation has been sent to African Heads of States on the feasibility of sticking to the July 1 take off date of trading among countries under the agreement.

He said that the feedback from the Heads of State was being awaited.

Mene spoke on Friday at a webinar on “AfCFTA Implementation Post COVID-19” organised by  the secretariat in collaboration with the American Business Council and US Africa Business Centre.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria is among the African countries that have endorsed  AfCFTA which aims to redefine trade relations within African states and beyond.

It proposed creating a single market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments across 54 countries.

The agreement also has a dispute settlement mechanism similar to the one set up by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Mene said a recommendation had been made to African leaders on the implementation of the agreement,  following the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic that had forced many countries to shut their borders.

He said: “Trading is supposed to begin on July 1 and 28 countries have already ratified the agreement to be bound with the legal obligations out of the 54 countries that signalled their intention.

” However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 42 countries in Africa are under border closure or partial lockdown.

“The governments are focused on saving lives and businesses, which makes a lot of sense.

” We have sent a recommendation to the Heads of States on the feasibility of sticking to the July 1 take off date and we are waiting for them to give us feedback.”

The secretary general maintained that proper implementation of AfCFTA would help Africa mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it would lead to mutually beneficial investments and job opportunities.

According to him, Africa has a market of 1.2 billion people; it has a combined Gross Domestic Product of $2.5 trillion, and about 400 continental companies that earn annual revenues of $1 billion or more.

He said: “Through the AfCFTA,  we have an opportunity to reconfigure our supply chains, to reduce reliance on others and to expedite the establishment of regional value chains that will boost intra-Africa trade.

AfCFTA is an opportunity to confront the significant trade and economic development challenges of our time, including market fragmentation smallness of national economies; over-reliance on the export of primary commodities and narrow export base.

“This is caused by shallow manufacturing capacity; lack of export specialisation; under-developed industrial regional value chains; and high regulatory and tariff barriers to intra-Africa trade amongst others.

“The result of all of this, is a very low percentage of intra-Africa trade of 18 per cent,” he said.

Mene said AfCFTA had  the potential to be a catalyst for industrial development, placing Africa on a path to exporting value-added products, improving Africa’s competitiveness both in its own markets and globally.

He maintained that AfCFTA should not be perceived to be benefiting only a handful of relatively industrialised countries in Africa but all African businesses.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

Continue Reading

Economy

AfCFTA: Stakeholders propose merger of SMEs to harness benefits

Published

on

Stakeholders of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have proposed business mergers to maximally enjoy the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) scheduled to take off in July.

They made their views known in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos.

NAN reports that AfCFTA, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in July, 2019, aims to unite 1.3 billion Africans with a 3.4 trillion dollars economic capacity.

Speaking, Dr Femi Egbesola, National President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria (ASBON), strongly supported the merger proposition, saying that the more businesses become a coalition, the stronger.

Egbesola explained that SMEs were unable to do much in the previous opportunities because many business owners were trying to do things on their own.

He said that the AfCFTA terrain was one which they were not used to and as such, needed to pull energies and resources together to benefit maximally.

“In many other countries like India, and Ghana, people doing similar businesses come together to form a cluster or a sort of network.

“This has helped them to address the challenges as a group which yields better results than when it is just one entity.

“I also advise business membership organisation to also come together to form bigger coalitions with same mind and set goals to achieve greater results,” Egbesola said.

Also, Mr Solomon Aderoju, President Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), said some SMEs which was lacking or was underperforming in a value chain of production could align with others.

Aderoju said this was to ensure global competitiveness in the trade agreement.

He explained that some small businesses that either lacked in finance, research, or marketability could identify their strengths and come together to harness greater benefit in the AfCFTA.

“If two or three of these businesses, along the same trade line, can come together, then things would be better for us all.

“If you are strong in trade, another is strong in capital, another in research, then, they can pull resources together and be a greater force in the trade circle.

“But, the problem is everybody wants to be on their own and as such may not be strong enough to compete favourable when the AfCFTA begins,” he said.

The NASME president, however, called for a proper legal framework to help address issues of rights, profit sharing and any other challenges to ensure smooth flow of operation amongst business entities.

He also urged the government to continue to engage factors and policies to address the cost of doing business and improve the nation’s ease of doing business rankings.

In his remarks, Dr Muda Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), urged SMEs to factor in business and personal compatibility in taking merger decisions.

Yusuf said that this was necessary because the merger phenomenon was not popular and akin to the Nigerian business climes.

“Size matters in competitiveness and competition, but compatibility matters too,” he said.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

 

Continue Reading

Economy

Trade negotiation office targets key service sectors for AfCFTA implementation

Published

on

By

The Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), says it is targeting stakeholders’ input in key priority service sectors for trade liberalisation to maximise benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Acting Director-General, NOTN, Mr Victor Liman made this known to the Nigeria News Agency , Abuja on Tuesday on the sidelines of its Joint Private and Public Sector Consultative Forum on Trade in Services.

It will be recalled that Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in July 7, 2019 and African Union (AU) member states have fixed July 1, 2020 for the operationalisation of the agreement.

Liman, also the Acting Chief Trade Negotiator of NOTN said that at the continental level, the member states adopted and accepted to liberalise five key priority sectors in trade and services.

“Those five key priority sectors are Financial, Communication, Transport, Tourism, Business and Professional Services.

“There are 12 major sectors in trade and services but we have accepted to liberalise five at this time and progressively liberalise the remaining overtime among member states

He said in view of this, the NOTN earlier consulted different sectors, subsectors and harvested important critical contributions from all the stakeholders engaged during that process.

Liman said that it further organised the private and public sector consultative forum to analyse and adopt the draft schedules of specific commitments in the five priority service sectors for liberalisation.

According to him, the draft specific commitments will be used as a negotiating input into Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Regional Schedule of Specific Commitments on Trade in Services to the AfCFTA.

Liman said that the final outcome of the schedules of the specific commitments would be presented to the ECOWAS for harmonisation of trade and services for AfCFTA negotiations.

He said that engagement of critical stakeholders was relevant because trade was very crucial to the growth of economy hence it was important to ensure that stakeholders were aware of the negotiations.

According to him, the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement will not only benefit the Nigerian populace but impact on the economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He, however, said that Nigeria still needed to do more on competitiveness, infrastructure, productivity and security, a feat he said the Federal Government was committed to achieving.

He said that since the AfCFTA offered 1.2 billion population and market size, Nigeria as the largest market in the continent needed to take full advantage of pact.

NAN reports that the main objective of AfCFTA is to create continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and capital.

It will also grow intra-African trade through better harmonisation and coordination of trade liberalisation across the continent.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf

Continue Reading

Economy

AfCFTA: MAN urges strategic positioning, unity of private sector 

Published

on

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has urged the federal government to strategically position the economy to exploit the opportunities of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Mr Olusegun Osidipe, Director Economic and Statistics, MAN, made the appeal at the MAN Zonal AfCFTA sensitisation workshop on Wednesday in Lagos.

Osidipe said that the nation would excel in the AfCFTA by leveraging on free market access to increase the country’s non-oil export trade volume.

He said that the country had comparative advantage in export of mineral resources, lubricants, agricultural products, beverages and tobacco, crude materials and services.

The director, however, noted that the nation was currently not in a position of readiness to benefit from the opportunities of the AfCFTA.

“If African countries can trade more with each other, the gains from such exchange would form part of resources needed for solving the numerous challenges of the continent, especially unemployment and poverty.

“But, going by the uncompetitive nature of the Nigerian production environment in recent times, one safely concludes that the private sector is not ready for implementation of the AfCFTA,” he said.

To maximally exploit the benefits, the statistician called for the provision of comprehensive and integrated support systems for SMIs to insulate the domestic economy from the backlash of the AfCFTA.

He said that the private sector must be united and strategically positioned to ensure that other laws that would enhance gainful participation are enacted.

The MAN director encouraged member-companies to fully deploy the tenets of competitive advantage strategy to upscale, own their value chain, improve capabilities and reduce production cost, to accelerate export diversification.

He advocated capacity building in the understanding of the Rules of Origin and the Trade Remedy Mechanisms.

Osidipe said that the government should also consistently see to the improvement of critical infrastructure to ensure global competitiveness.

“The association and manufacturers must radically adopt technology and innovate to improve products, marketing strategies and business model, to meet the dynamic speed of market transformation.

“We must also avoid building business sustainability around government incentives and setting business goals, growth targets and profitability around government support,” he said.

Mr Adeyemi Folorunsho, Assistant Director, Sectoral Department, MAN  recommended that the ECOWAS Commission should ensure that tariff lines strategic to Nigeria which were lumped in the liberalized list be moved to the exclusion and sensitive baskets respectively.

Folorunsho explained that if not done, the gains the country had recorded in its economic diversification and industrialization drive would be reversed.

“Items with zero trade value in ECOWAS list should be removed from the exclusion list to accommodate tariff lines that are of priority to Nigeria,” he said.

Folorunsho , however, enjoined members to understand the process as not all the items submitted for exclusion may make the final list.

Mr Mansur Ahmed, MAN President, said the AfCFTA was a noble idea expected to increase the volume of trade among African countries and help address the challenges of unemployment and poverty in the continent.

Ahmed was represented by Honorary National Treasurer of MAN, Rev Isaac Agoye.

He said the association, in recognizing the importance of creating a beneficial free trade area for export of members products, was working to promote the articulation of evidence-based positions on AfCFTA.

“Nigeria has signed the AfCFTA Agreement with great expectation that the country would gain from the Free Trade Arrangement and not suffer too much losses.

“Trade experts worldwide generally agree that every trade agreement comes with economic gains and pains.

“For instance, the report of the study commissioned by MAN revealed compelling low points, as import will surge in all the manufacturing sectoral groups as tariff cuts would trigger increases in import.

“However, the high point is that Nigeria has a huge export market potential in a wide range of goods, especially manufactured products, in many countries when the framework agreement is fully implemented,” he said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle

Continue Reading

Economy

AfCFTA: Nigeria will excel in service delivery

Published

on

Mr  Nwiabu Nuka, Executive Director of Nigeria Private Sector Alliance says the country will excel in service delivery with  the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) billed to take off in July.

Nuka stated this during a panel discussion organised by Greeners Business-to-Business, to mark its Annual National Economic Dialogue 2020 in Abuja on Saturday.

The economic dialogue has a theme “Positioning Nigeria’s Creative Industry as Growth Engine of Africa Continental Trade Agreement (AFCTA)”.

Nuka said Nigeria’s strength was more on service which he said was the best and can be taken across the borders for the AfCFTA which the country was signitory to.

He also added that the Nigerian music had gone global as it could be found everywhere as well as fashion which the country was also endowed with.

According to him, Nigeria also has good food to showcase unlike other African countries which perhaps have varieties of food but can not prepare them well as Nigerians do.

He added that Nigerian banks were also doing well as they could be found in most African countries.

Another panelist, Mrs Ojoma Ochai, Director of Programmes, British Council Nigeria lauded the Federal Government’s new visa regime.

Ochai said before the take off of AfCFTA, those that wanted to come for businesses in Nigeria and were hindered due to difficulties in accessing visa could now leverage on this policy.

She urged government at all levels to give the opportunities to every Nigerian youth even the weak ones.

She added that attention should be given to both exceptional talented youth and the weak to develop themselves and contribute to the society.

Also contributing, Ms Iyalode Alaba Lawanson, former President of  Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), said Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) was critical to economic development hence government should focus on that.

Lawanson also urged young entrepreneurs to go through mentorship to rise adding that mentoring was important in MSMEs.

She enjoined entrepreneurs to be self disciplined and focused in their undertakings.

According to her, entrepreneurs that are focusing will be successful and those who are not are bound to fail.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza

Continue Reading

Economy

AfCFTA:  Make policies industry-friendly to enhance competitiveness – MAN tells FG

Published

on

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) says the Nigerian government must ensure that its policies are industry- friendly, as this is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.

Its President, Mr Mansur Ahmed, spoke at the 2020 edition of the MAN reporter of the year award on Thursday in Lagos.

He also urged the government to show readiness in addressing the supply side constraints of lack of infrastructure, to enjoy the gains of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Ahmed said policies and regulations should be lenient for businesses and seen as a way of assisting them to grow, to enhance competitiveness and boost the economy.

He said that competitiveness, without the provision of infrastructure such as good road networks and electricity, not only within African countries but also across the borders cannot be achieved.

“As the association remains at the forefront for setting the pace for engagement with other African manufacturers, the Nigerian government must also lead by example in ensuring that policies are industry-friendly, as this is the only guarantee for a competitive intra-African trade.

“Modern industry competitiveness depends to a great extent on provision of adequate and efficient infrastructure.

“There is also the aspect of provision of soft infrastructure – like visa, tariffs, and foreign exchange – that will help ease up the process of carrying out business transactions between countries,’’ he said.

According to him, transportation is vital to enhancing competitiveness in trade.

“For instance, due to poor infrastructure, it will cost a business owner in Nigeria more to transport goods from Lagos to Kano than it will cost a Chinese business owner to transport the same goods from China to Lagos.

“We must address all these issues since the AfCFTA is not just about trade in goods, but also trade in services,” he said.

The MAN President said that electricity was a vital input for any manufacturing process, as it constitutes up to 40 per cent of the cost of production.

He explained that increasing the tariff of this core input would have drastic negative effect on the Gross National Product (GNP), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), disposable income, consumption, employment, among other economic factors.

According to him, the uneven pricing of this commodity across distribution companies (DisCos), if not corrected, will lead to uneven development in certain parts of the country as the percentage increase in tariff differs.

“A reduction in electricity tariff for industrial purpose is more ideal, but even if it cannot be reduced, it should be not be increased.

“Any increase on the tariff will reinforce the already high- cost manufacturing environment and further depress productivity in the sector.

“Our appeal is that government, being a major stakeholder in the electricity industry, should concentrate on developing processes and polices to attract significant investment.

“This will encourage large scale generation and significant improvement in transmission and distribution.

“It is also important for government to ensure adequate and appropriate consultations with stakeholders in the private sector on such decisions with far-reaching implications,” he said.

The MAN President also disclosed that he had been confirmed substantive Chairman of the Pan African Manufacturers Association (PAMA).

The Nigeria News Agency reports that PAMA is the umbrella body of manufacturers in Africa.

It is aimed at bringing African manufacturers together to jointly engage governments of the African continent to create a conducive and enabling environment for local businesses to thrive.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle

 

 

Continue Reading

Economy

Afreximbank organises road-show to help Rwandan businesses tap into AfCFTA

Published

on

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it will hold a road-show in Kigali on how Rwanda’s private sector can become the primary beneficiary of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Deborah Ross, Spokesperson of the bank, said in a statement that the road-show, which would start on Feb. 11, would provide significant opportunities for the country’s private sector to access the largely untapped integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people.

Ross said the road-show, being organised in collaboration with Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation (PSF), was to raise the awareness of the Rwandan private sector about the substantial benefits of attending the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) billed for Sept. 1 to Sept. 7 in Kigali.

According to Ross, Rwandan businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA by establishing new networks of business buyers and sellers from across the African continent to enable the country to expand its intra-African trade.

Ross quoted Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, as saying that “Rwanda’s economic transformation is undoubtedly one of Africa’s success stories.

“Rwandan businesses can further capitalise on this achievement by positioning themselves to take full advantage of the AfCFTA,” Oramah said.

He said that the removal of intra-African trade tariffs, progressive dismantling of non-tariff barriers and protectionism, would create a genuine single continental market for the country.

He urged Rwandan businesses to attend IATF2020 to enable them showcase their goods and services to buyers from across the African continent, whilst establishing new trade and investment links with more than 55 different countries.

IATF2020 is aimed at providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers of products and services from Africa and beyond to meet and explore business opportunities.

It will offer a platform for business-to-business and business-to-government exchanges, as well as business networking and development opportunities leading to the expected conclusion of trade and investment deals worth $40 billion.

The operational phase of the AfCFTA will commence on July 1.

Afreximbank is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade.

The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.

Since 1994, it has approved more than $67 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including $7.2 billion in 2018. As at Dec. 31, 2018, it had total assets of $13.4 billion.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Wale Ojetimi

Continue Reading

Features

Nigeria undergoing reforms for AfCFTA

Published

on

Intra-Africa trade has been historically low due to numerous trading rules and tariffs of many countries, leading to untapped potential in the region.

To bridge the gap and ensure that there exists a seamless trade within the region, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was formed.

The general objectives of the agreement are to create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent, establish a liberalised market through multiple rounds of negotiations and aid the movement of capital and people; and facilitate investments.

AfCFTA is also meant to move toward the establishment of a future continental Customs Union, achieve sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states.

It aims at enhancing competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market, encourage industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security.

AfCFTA is a trade agreement which is in force between 28 African Union member states. It was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.

As at July 2019, 54 states had signed the agreement including Nigeria.

AfCFTA, which establishes a single continental market for goods and services, seeks to increase intra-African trade by cutting tariffs and harmonising trading rules at the continental level.

If successful, AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent by 2022.

It is an opportunity for countries and companies to help each other grow, as they have done in other regions and it is so important to have supportive policies and putting infrastructure on ground.

The agreement is seen critical for growth, job and wealth creation for Africa and its 1.27 billion people.

Maritime experts are of the view that Nigeria needs to tackle many challenges which arise from the state of the ports, access roads to the ports that can hinder the smooth take off of the agreement.

The goal is to allow free movement of business travellers and investments; and create a continental Customs Union to streamline trade and attract long-term investments.

When trade barriers are removed, more opportunities are created and so the need to ensure that the country is not caught up with the many challenges it faces at the ports.

The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Ms Hadiza Bala-Usman, at the 2019 International Ports and Terminal (NIMPORT) Conference and Expo, says the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will boost trade in Nigeria.

Bala-Usman was represented at the conference by Mr Durowaiye Ayodele, Assistant General Manager, Operations in NPA.

She says the Nigerian ports are undergoing some reforms in form of infrastructure and others.

The managing director notes that this will go a long way in ensuring a seamless connectivity.

“Investment in infrastructure will give opportunity to link critical hinterlands with rails, waterways, rehabilitation of roads leading to the ports and deliberate policies put in place to improve the transport sector.

“All the investments in infrastructure with the signing of the AfCFTA are aimed at integrating the economy of the country and removing barriers,” she explains.

Bala-Usman suggests that there should be a deliberate policy targeted toward improving the transport sector.

She explains that all issues such as dredging of seaports, corruption, manual processes in the sector; when handled, will ensure the country partakes effectively in the regional trade.

Mr Ola Adeeyinwo, Deputy Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), adds that movement of cargo to the hinterlands has challenges due to the state of the rail tracks.

According to him, it is only the Apapa port that is connected by rail and this affects the evacuation of cargo.

Adeeyinwo says after the port concession, most of the rail lines were removed.

Mr Fortune Idu, Chairman, NIMPORT, a port and terminal promotion body, advises that the next level for regional trade development for African countries is for them to come together and form a trading bloc.

Idu says signing of the agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari is the long-awaited antidote needed to prepare Africa to compete in the global trade as a unified body.

According to him, trading between countries has not been seamless and the continent has not been fully integrated in form of trade and connectivity.

“The next level for regional trade development should come with accelerated port and logistics infrastructure development, trade integration and seamless facilitation and hinterland rail connectivity.

“This next level will present the region as a global trade contender to Europe, China and America and the rest of the world,” he suggests.

Idu, however, notes that the maritime sea corridors will continue to prove the greatest capacity for volume of trade and movement.

He is optimistic that the rail connectivity to hinterland will help guarantee that this volume is evenly distributed seamlessly.

Idu urges African countries to work hard in creating the links by developing coastal water navigational and shipping capacities and regional pipelines where port cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Cotonou, Douala, others, will be connected directly.

Mrs Funmi Folorunsho, Secretary General, African Shipowners Association (ASA) advises government to invest in ships in order to trade in line with AfCFTA.

According to her, since the signing of the agreement, nobody has said anything about the stand of the maritime industry and what the practitioners tend to benefit from it.

Folorunso points out that there should be policy development toward this effect.

she says there is cargo to carry and this period, with the signing of the agreement, it is time to invest in shipowners in the country.

On the whole, if the ports have adequate infrastructure like rail links to hinterlands, good access roads with favourable transport policies, the upsurge in trade as a result of the agreement will be seamless. (NANfeatures)

**If Used, please credit the writer as well as the Nigeria News Agency

Continue Reading

Economy

AfCFTA: MAN urges FG to address gaps in economic ecosystem

Published

on

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised the Federal Government to address the gaps in economic ecosystem to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2020.

The Director-General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, spoke to the Nigeria News Agency on Saturday in Lagos.

Ajayi-Kadir said that the government should focus on mitigating the supply constraints which had limited the sector’s competitiveness.

“As you are aware, we are entering the implementation stage of the AfCFTA in July 2020.

“Government synergy with key private sector operators should be deepened; this is both in consultation ahead of policy formulation, implementation and active involvement in monitoring.

“It should re-focus and expand private sector participation in the provision of trade facilitation infrastructure and public utilities,” he said.

The director-general said that there should be improved power supply and accelerated road repairs, particularly in the industrial areas and the Lagos ports.

“This has degenerated into a nightmare as manufacturers pay over one million naira and wait for more that two weeks to get a 40-foot container out of any of the ports.

“There is also the multiplicity of levies often charged by different tiers of government.

“One can only look at 2020 within the context of current policies of government and its objectives in the year.

“There appears to be challenging times ahead; government is aware of the issues and amenable to tackling them,” he said.

Ajayi-Kadir, however, said that the menace of smuggling had been reduced by current border closure even if it was not a permanent solution.

He said that the use of modern technology and reorientation of relevant trade-related government agencies would be helpful.

According to him, some of the adopted policies will negatively impact on the manufacturing sector in the new year.

He also said that the increase in the value added tax would compound the challenge of unplanned inventories of manufactured goods, and dampen the impact of the minimum wage increase.

“This will put enormous pressure on government resources and reduce its capacity to deal with infrastructure deficit bedeviling the economy.” Ajayi-Kadir said.

He said that the sector might not show any improvement from its current level with a growth rate not beyond two per cent and a double digit inflation rate.

The director-general said that it would deepen forex restrictions in the face of inadequate local supply of raw materials.

Edited by: Chinyere Bassey/Ijeoma Popoola

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Read Also