By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, June 16, 2021 Dr Muda Yusuf, Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) on Wednesday said that lack of industry regulatory framework might militate against international trade in the country.
Yusuf made the observation on Wednesday in Lagos at the Primetime Reporters 3rd Annual Lecture and Awards with the theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Readiness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.”
He expressed worries over the lack of cooperation among chief executive officers of maritime and government agencies, adding that the sector would continue to suffer setbacks they work in harmony.
“I am happy we have quite a number of maritime players in attendance here, most of the problems with AfCFTA is coming from the maritime sector.
“Some agencies operate as monopoly affirming that the sector lacks dispute resolution mechanisms to tackle issues confronting the Industry,” he said.
He listed cost effective power supply, cost of credit (interest rates) and expanding trade finance/micro credits and finance for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSME) as some of the problems faced by stakeholders.
Others according to him are: no enabling environment for businesses that eliminate multiple taxation by government, high level of insecurity, quality of trade infrastructure, long standing problem of transhipment, piracy, smuggling and other injurious trade practices by non-African trading partners.
Yusuf said that AfCFTA was ready to support Small and Medium Enterprises, develop infrastructure to support cost effective production, local capacity to produce and export, ensure trade facilitation and others.
Chairman of the event, Mr Osuala Nwagbara, called for more awareness strategies in promoting AFCFTA.
Nwagbara, who is also a maritime lawyer, pointed out that some shippers were still ignorant about the gains and benefits of continental trade.
He noted that National Action Committee on AFCFTA was working tirelessly to create the desired awareness.
The chairman, however, expressed optimism that Nigerian investors would benefit from the continental trade .
Earlier, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief , Primetime Reporters Newspaper, Mr Augustine Nwadinamou, noted that lack of information by concerned stakeholders might pose greater challenges to the success of AFCFTA.
He urged Nigeria to address the bottleneck in order to benefit from the agreement which seeks to create a single market in Africa.
“Six months into the commencement of the free trade in the continent, not much has been heard about it, expect for few references in some occasions
“With a single market with population of 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product of $3.4 trillion, the continent trade agreement also harped on the need for methodical harvest
“There is need to integrate all data associated with AfCFTA into a system for easy deployment, access and use by the trading public,” he said.
By Chiazo Ogbolu