Mr Tope Fasua, an Economic expert says Nigeria must be proactive in the manufacture of quality goods that would be sold in African markets.
Fasua said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday
He was reacting to the signing of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari signed the landmark agreement at the African Union (AU) Summit in Niger on Sunday after it pulled out in 2018, days before the country was due to sign it.
The AfCFTA is a free trade area outlined in the Agreement among 52 of the 55 African Union nations. The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
Fasua explained that Nigeria as a country must step up in terms of standard and quality products as well as good packaging to showcase to other countries on the continent.
“This means we must organise ourselves and become productive. We must get up to the level of Ghana when it comes to packaging.
“You will be shocked how advanced and meticulous they are. And north African countries are a different ball game entirely. South Africa is at European standards.
“The tussle and the war is between Egypt, Algeria, Morroco, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria, but look out for a few other ambitious and strategic ones like small Botswana.
“Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire which can leverage some of their key products and get their people prosperous while we are sleeping.
“I have heard it said that we shouldn’t have signed because we have nothing to sell. Yes we don’t presently but now is the time for a sea change in economic policy” he said.
He added that the lapses in the Nigerian economy would now be exposed if the country didn’t buckle up and act fast.
The economist said this was also the greatest opportunity the country could ever had.
“I will not commend the president because its fait accomplished, If we hadn’t signed we would have been left out.
“For us, that will mean even goods produced locally in Gabon, Guinea, and Zambia will be dumped here via our porous borders.
“It will mean economic collapse because no country in Africa can be an island and already we know we have problems in this area. The alternative is the right thing and that is what we have done.
“Now, we are going into a disciplinary era. We must keep inflation low if we are to compete with our goods within Africa and show discipline and not continue with our nonchalant ways if we are to save ourselves from ruin.