The Chief Whip of the Osun State House of Assembly, Hon Tunde Olatunji, has, signing of the Africa Continent Free Trade Area is the first most significant measure to removing intra nations barriers to Africa trade and pathway to the continent’s economic prosperity in the 21st century.
Olatunji who reacted to the signing of AFCFTA convention by President Mohammadu Buhari in Niger Republic, said with Nigeria’s acceptance of the new deal, there is hope in its progress, considering the capacity of Nigeria as the continent largest economy and Super Power.
He said from available data and projection, AFCFTA would cut off tariffs for goods from countries within the bloc, creating the world largest free trade area in the world, leading to about 60% boost in intra-African Trade by 2020.
The legislator whose interest is keen about development economy noted that ” despite the suspicion of many stakeholders that the regional economic integration would lead to unfair competition for jobs and the goods they produced, Nigeria has a lot to gain by increasing access to its goods and services to a wider African Market”
Part of the gains as enumerated by Mr Olatunji include ” removal of all borders taxes or trade barriers on goods, abolishing quota system on the limit of trade that can be done , makes for cheaper exports and easier access to market ”
“Despite that fact that it comes with different rules, the FTA makes trade between countries liberal as possible and allow for more regulated competitions” ,he said.
Olatunji however urged African leaders to put into cognisance the observations of the Chairperson of the AU Executive Council, Louise Mushikiwabo among which are needs to addressing pratical isues such as streamlining regulations, improving access to finance by private sector, infrastructure networks and simplification of the custom process.
Until on Sunday in Niamey ,Niger republic, Nigeria slowed down her appendage to the agreement to enable consultation of more stakeholders.
54 of the 55 African countries are signatories to the AFCFTA documents, leaving out Eritrea which may join later.