By Ray Ugochukwu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) are among government agencies and private sector operators that will on Tuesday in Lagos, chart the course for a successful continental trade.
This will happen at a one-day workshop being put together by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, holding at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja.
According to an NUJ press statement dated May 21, 2022, the event with the theme “The AfCFTA Challenge On Nigerian Businesses”, would have the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as the Chief Host and Guest of Honour.
In the statement signed by the NUJ Chairman and Secretary, Comrade Adeleye Ajayi and Mr. Tunde Olalere, respectively, the event commencing 10.00am at the Banquet Hall of the hotel, would centre on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA). The press statement is titled, “Business Stakeholders Converge in Lagos for Lagos NUJ Workshop on AFCFTA”.
It added that the workshop was intended to, “among other things, x-ray the AfCFTA principles and its workings, the constraints/challenges faced by Nigerian businesses in tapping fully its benefits and possible solutions”.
Explaining on what AfCFTA stands for, NUJ stated that the scheme was “a regional trade concept designed to break all manner of trade barriers existing and impeding business among the countries of the African continent. Just like its counterpart, the European Economic Community (EEC), AfCFTA worth over $3.0 trillion annually, is seen as a veritable opportunity to facilitate and grow regional trade in the continent.
“It was created with the aim of eliminating or reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers amongst the 54 countries that make up the Trade Area. Though the scheme is presumed to have taken off but virtually all the nation’s businesses appear unprepared to tap fully the potentials of the laudable initiative designed to boost economic prosperity of nations”.
The Council regretted that “While some smaller nations in the continent look more prepared and have embraced the scheme, the same cannot be said of Nigeria where there is nothing presently on ground to prove otherwise. The various regulatory agencies also on their part appear not to be doing much for the country to key into this laudable initiative”.
Other establishments that would make presentations, according to the statement, included officials from AfCFTA headquarters in Accra, Ghana; representatives of the academia; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
Also included are the Sifax Group, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), among others.
NUJ made it clear that the outcome of the deliberations that would see “over 200 journalists drawn from the print, electronic and online media”, in attendance, would be captured in a communiqué that would be issued at the end of the day.