Single unified market will not affect the economy- Nigerian government

Adoba Echono

The African Union Commission's logo at its Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Nigerian government says the launching of African single trade market would not affect the country’s economy negatively as adequate measures were being put in place to protect the economy

The Chief Negotiator for Continent Free Trade Area (CFTA), Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, stated this in Abuja at a joint press conference on the outcome of the recent 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU)  took place from 22nd to 29th January 2018, under the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

The conference had in attendance, Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, his Aviation counterpart, Senator Hadi Sirika, and Acting Chairman Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

President Muhammadu Buhari had at the just concluded 30th AU Head of States and Government Summit pushed for the establishment of the market which was adopted by the Summit

 The scheme which is set to be launched in March 4 this year, Osakwe disclosed that Nigeria is braced up to ensure that it does not become a dumping ground for counterfeit products.

He argued that measure would ensure that the initiative instead of adversely affecting the economy would rather increase trade within the continent, create more jobs and reduce poverty.

He said that consultations had already begun with all the stakeholders including the organized private sectors made up of manufacturers and other relevant bodies.

We will embark on sensitisation programme, we being the Nigeria trade negotiation agency, we have develop a time table as advised by the presidency to meet with industry group and private sector, explained.

“We are putting in place measures to safeguard our unprotected economic environment from dumping, counterfeiting and unfair trading practices by some of the trading partners.

“One of our key mandate is to put in place anti-dumping measure, to safeguard the Nigeria economy from becoming a dumping ground, we are pulling all the stuff, this is one of the principle that to ensure this is achieved,” said Osakwe.

On his part, the Nigerian Minister of State Aviation, Senator Had Sirika also said that the adoption of Single Africa Air Transport Market (SSATM) by the AU was a laudable achievement by the union

He said that Nigeria as a country would benefit from the project which aims to create a unified air transport market and complete liberation of intra-Africa travel a s a key component of its regional economy.

According to Senator Sirika, more than 500 million Africans will benefit from the launch of SAATM the flagship project under the AU Agenda 2063.

 “AU believes that the initiative will pave way for a further  easing of visa restrictions and will eventually lead to a common African Passport to promote free movement and trade  between African nation,” he said”

For the Acting Chairman Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu Nigeria had become a factor to reckon with in the fight against corruption as being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit.

Magu said that there was the need for the AU to build a strong regional national institute to effectively fight corruption by adequately empowering national anti corruption institutions and insulating them from undue political interference.

“Africa must also enhance institutional collaboration between law enforcement and anti corruption agencies as well as strengthening the existing criminal system through exchange of information and sharing of best practices.

“Nigeria has made a significant progress in the fight against corruption by laying the legal framework, strengthening institutions, introducing transparency within the system and making government more accountable,” he said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama described the Summit as historic with a lot of key and landmark achievements by the AU leaders.

 Onyeama pointed out that the push by President Buhari for single African market was not an easy task.

According Onyeama, negotiating with about 55 countries that have different ideologies and agenda to agree over an issue was not an easy task for the president.

Suzan O.