Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, wednesday said Nigeria’s neighbours must comply with fair trade practices to avoid depriving Nigeria the benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, explaining that the country would prevent itself from becoming a dumping ground for goods that did not originate from Africa.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Lagos Branch Controller of CBN, Mr. Ekhator Atise, spoke in Lagos, at the 2019 International Trade Seminar, with the theme: ‘Non-oil Export in Nigeria, Emerging Opportunities, Financing Options and African Regional Trade Integration,’ that was organised by Zenith Bank Plc.
Also at the event, the federal government reiterated the importance of the Nigerian private sector to the successful implementation of AfCFTA agreement, which will come into force from July 1, 2020.
The position of the federal government was conveyed by the Minister of Industry, Trade and investment, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, who said Nigeria did not need to look beyond the recent recession to understand the urgency for the government to grow and diversify the country’s economy in order to develop new sources of export revenues.
Emefiele said it was imperative that all stakeholders supported the growth in the physical industry that would help insulate the economy from external headwinds.
He added that supporting the growth of the real sector needed to improve non-oil exports as a viable alternative that would help the country to project better growth and create jobs for the teaming youths and the nation, had become imperative.
He expressed optimism that the continental free trade agreement was going to be fruitful for Nigeria and would enable Nigerian manufacturers to access other markets within the continent.
Emefiele, however, stressed the need for all parties to engage in fair trade.
“If the agreement is going to be of value to our country, the situation where other countries and goods are on transit point to enable a type of subsidised imports in Nigeria which harm our local farmers and industries cannot and should not be tolerated. All parties must work to encourage fair trade in order for the gains of AfCFTA to be achieved.
The CBN will continue to implement policies that will enable improved domestic productivity and further the growth of non-oil exports in Nigeria as a more diversified economy is crucial in promoting stable growth and in creating job opportunities on a wider scale and it would also help to improve our non-export earnings thereby protecting our economy from the volatility of the crude oil market,” he added.
He stated that for a country with close to 200 million people, the emphasis on non-oil exports was due to the potential gains that would be made when human and natural resources are harnessed in creating new products and services that could be produced in large scale and sold to people in various parts of the world.
Adebayo, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector, Mr. Francis Anatogu, said Nigeria did not need to look beyond the recent recession to understand the urgency for the government to grow and diversify the country’s economy in order to develop new sources of export revenues.
Adebayo said: “The private sector has a critical role to play in the drive to grow non-oil export and in the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“There is a need for a paradigm shift in the way we do business, for us to unlock the country’s export trade opportunities.”
According to him, there was need for the private sector to defend their share of the domestic market and to expand their market share in Africa.
“Also, you need to evolve ways of building networks with businesses and governments in African countries of interest in order to effectively execute these strategies.
“In addition, it is important to evolve effective partnership with government on how to realise the projects that will make the country ready for the AfCFTA by identifying specific programmes and initiatives that government should prioritise to fast-track non-oil export and enhance our readiness for AfCFTA,” he told his audience