Saraki, Folorunso bag appointment as AfCFTA champions for transport sector

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By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, Nov. 20, 2020 The National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has appointed champions for various sectors and thematic areas to help mobilise stakeholders to prepare for AfCFTA in Nigeria.

The Secretary General, African Shipowners Association, Ms Funmi Folorunso, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Friday.

According to her, for the transportation sector, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of State, Transportation and Ms Olufunmilayo Folorunso, Secretary General African Shipowners Association were the two champions appointed.

She said that for the transportation sector, the AfCFTA mission was to transform Nigeria into the Transportation Hub for Africa Trade.

She noted that a workshop would kick-start the series of engagements with the industry.

“Recall that Nigeria signed and recently ratified the Agreement establishing AfCFTA and this agreement seeks to create a single market for made-in Africa goods and services to boost intra-Africa trade and deepen economic integration of African countries.

“By providing preferential access to made-in-Nigeria goods in African markets, the AfCFTA is expected to boost Nigeria’s non-oil exports, create jobs and attract investments and ultimately enable Nigerian business to develop capacity and competitiveness to export our products and services to the world.

“In view of the expected strategic and transformative effect of the AfCFTA on Nigerian businesses and economy, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated a National Action Committee on AfCFTA on Dec. 20, 2019.

“The committee is to coordinate Nigeria’s implementation of the AfCFTA agreement,” she said.

Folorunso added that the committee had been mandated to coordinate public and private sector actors to undertake a wide range of readiness interventions to prepare Nigerian business to benefit from the AfCFTA agreement while mitigating its threats.

She said that it had been recognised that for Nigeria to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA Agreement, it must mobilise the private sector to explore African markets.

She noted that there would be growth of internal capabilities to comply with international rules; and invest in production capacity and productivity upgrades.

According to her, similarly, Federal and State Governments will have to streamline, update and enforce policies, regulations and laws to improve ease and cost of doing business and secure access to African markets for our businesses.

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