The Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo has revealed that the Federal Government is working on some short and medium-term priorities and initiatives that would ease the export processes in Nigeria to enable the country to reap the full benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
According to him, part of the priorities is working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to promote the use of alternative ports around the country, as well as working on construction of domestic export warehouses and common facility process centres for many of the export commodities.
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Awolowo stated these at a webinar with a theme “AfCFTA: Revamping Nigeria’s Infrastructure for Global Trade”, organised by Arbiterz Media Limited.
He said: “We are working on domestic export warehouse/aggregation centres to reduce the cost of doing business by MSMEs exporting companies. We are looking at Tincan and Apapa Ports so that we can decongest those areas.
“We are also working on common facility process centres for many of our commodities including shea butter, cashew among others in order to reduce the cost of fashion, cosmetics and agro-products to mention a few.
“We are working with NPA on trying to get other ports ready and decongest the Lagos ports. Last month, we did about 7,000 tons of cocoa from Calabar Port, which has never been done before.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Yewande Sadiku said: “What is more important is the internal work that Nigeria needs to do with ensuring that the private sector fully understands the implications of AfCFTA and that the government pro-actively empowers the Nigerian private sector to leverage Nigeria’s clear competitive advantage for Nigeria’s benefit.”
The representative of the MD/CEO, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Hope Yongo said that NEXIM is promoting the regional sea-link project under a SPV-PPP framework. He added that the project would hopefully commence by fourth quarter of 2021 to enhance Nigeria’s trade connectivity under AfCFTA.