BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
Stakeholders in Nigeria industry have called on the federal government to immediately adopt measures at stopping injurious trade practices against Nigerian manufacturers and service providers.
This was part of the communiqué issued at the AfCFTA Northeast Stakeholders’ Forum held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Tuesday.
The Forum with the theme: “Stakeholders Sensitisation and Consultation Forum, on the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, underlined that there is urgent need for accelerated implementation action in the areas of:
- i) Countervailing measures against transhipment, dumping and other injurious trade practices against Nigerian manufacturers and service providers;
- ii) Predictable, cost effective power supply;
iii) Reducing the cost of money and improving access to credit;
- iv) Sustaining on-going progress, already registered in the Nigerian Business Environment;
- v) Modernizing and updating Nigerian Logistics, particularly with regard to supply chains;
- v) Effective border management, enforcement action and mitigation of smuggling; and,
- vi) Factoring impacts of AfCFTA trading environment in an updated ERGP.
The Forum organised by the Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in partnership with the Borno State Government for the Northeast Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria.
It was declared opened by Alhaji Kashim Shettima, Governor of Borno State, represented by the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Usman Durkwa with Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Chief Trade Negotiator, Director-General of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations who represented the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, delivered an Opening Address on the objectives of the AfCFTA and the purpose of the nation-wide sensitisation and consultation exercise.
Osakwe said: “The visit to the Maiduguri Dikwa, Gamboru-Ngala border to observe the endless line of trade convoys transporting Nigerian products into Central Africa and the unanimous endorsement of the AfCFTA at the geopolitical Forum, mark a turning point in the sensitisation and consultation exercise.
“The height of the North-East geopolitical zone sensitization and consultation on AfCFTA was the positive relationship established by stakeholders between trade, cross-border cooperation, security and stability”.
Shettima, on his part underlined the historical importance, over time, of cross-border, intra-African trade for economic growth and welfare, job creation and the overall prosperity of the Northeast Zone of Nigeria.
He said cross-border trade between the Northeast Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria and neighbouring countries in Central Africa had gone on for centuries.
“This cross-border trade had sustained growth, generated jobs, supported rural well-being and livelihoods and promoted prosperity-based dialogue, in the context of a previously environment-friendly Lake Chad Basin.
“Trade Integration was critical for growth, job creation and poverty reduction, not only in the Northeast region, but throughout Nigeria.”
The governor underscored the fact that the peace, security and stability of the Northeast Geopolitical Zone and the neighbouring African countries, on the foundation of cross-border trade, were mutually supportive with the goals of peace, security and stability of Nigeria.
He said trade cooperation remains one of the solutions for re-building fractured societies and post-conflict economic recovery.