Single Unified Market for Africa Will Not Affect Nigeria’s Economy – FG
Federal Government has said that the proposed launching of African single trade market would not affect Nigerian economy as adequate measures were being put in place to protect the economy.
The Chief Negotiator for Continent Free Trade Area (CFTA), Amb. Chiedu Osakwe, stated this in Abuja on Thursday night at a joint news conference on the outcome of the just concluded African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The news conference had in attendance, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, his Aviation counterpart, Sen Hadi Sirika, and Acting Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
President Muhammadu Buhari had at the just concluded 30th AU Head of States and Government Summit pushed for the establishment of the market which was adopted by the summit.
Osakwe said that as the scheme is set to be launched in March 4, Nigeria is bracing up to ensure that it does not become a dumping ground for counterfeit and substandard products.
He stressed that the measures would ensure that the initiative instead of adversely affecting the economy would rather increase trade within the continent, create more jobs and reduce poverty.
He said that consultation had already begun with all the stakeholders including the organised private sectors made up of manufacturers and other relevant bodies.
“We will embark on sensitisation programme, we have been to the Nigeria trade negotiation agency, we have developed a time table as advised by the presidency to meet with industry group and private sector.
We are putting in place measures to safeguard our unprotected economic environment from dumping, counterfeiting and unfair trading practices by some of the trading partners.
“One of our key mandate is to put in place anti-dumping measures, to safeguard the Nigeria economy from becoming a dumping ground, we are pulling all the stuff, this is one of the principles to ensure this is achieved,” he said.
Minister of Aviation, Mr Had Sirika also said that the adoption of Single Africa Air Transport Market (SSATM) by the AU was a laudable achievement.
A one time Senator, said that Nigeria as a country would benefit from the project which aims to create a unified air transport market and complete liberation of intra-africa travel a s a key component of its regional economy.
More than 500 million Africans will benefit from the launch of SAATM the flagship project under the AU Agenda 2063.
“AU believes that the initiative will pave way for a further easing of visa restrictions and will eventually lead to a common African Passport to promote free movement and trade among African nations,” he said.
Acting Chairman Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu said that Nigeria had become a factor to reckon with in the fight against corruption as being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit.
Magu said that there was the need for the AU to build a strong regional national institute to effectively fight corruption by adequately empowering national anti corruption institutions and insulating them from undue political interference
“Africa must also enhance institutional collaboration between law enforcement and anti corruption agencies as well as strengthening the existing criminal system through exchange of information to enhance best practices
“Nigeria has made a significant progress in the fight against corruption by laying the legal framework, strengthening institutions, introducing transparency within the system and making government more accountable,” he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama described the just concluded Summit as historic with a lot of key and landmark achievements by the AU leaders.
Onyeama pointed out that the push by President Buhari for single African market was not an easy task.
According to him, negotiating with about 55 countries, who have different ideologies and agenda of their own to agree over an issue was not an easy task for the president