The Bauchi State Government has announced the setting up of its implementation team for the African Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), according to a statement by the National Action Committee on AfCFTA.
The Statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Monday, said Bauchi was the first to set up an AfCFTA desk office in the country.
It added that the announcement of the team was made during a visit by a delegation of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA to the Governor, as part of their nationwide awareness and sensitisation programme.
According to the committee, its awareness programme was aimed at preparing Nigeria to take advantage of the AfCFTA Agreement, while mitigating its threats to the Nigerian economy.
It said the main objective of AfCFTA was to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons, in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.
“AfCFTA is expected to deliver an integrated continental market of 1.27 billion consumers with aggregate GDP of 3.4 trillion Dollars, Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of these figures which spreads largely across our states,” it said.
The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, said: “AfCFTA is a low hanging fruit, and we encourage our citizens to be part of it.
Mohammed said the state was ready to partner with the federal government to enhance the lives of its people, through such productive platforms such as AfCFTA.
“We believe that Bauchi state has a lot to offer. This is why I am directing the Commissioner of Commerce and Industry to set up a corresponding AfCFTA body to work with the National Action Committee on AfCFTA,” he said.
Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Chairman, National Action Committee on AfCFTA said: “the African Continental Free Trade Area is expected to compliment Nigeria’s national development agenda and act as a catalyst for Nigeria’s export diversification.
Adebayo said AFCFTA would act as export diversification platform by providing preferential access to Nigeria products and services to the huge African market, which currently sources over 85 per cent of imports from outside the continent.
He explained that if Nigeria was to stand any chance of making something out of AfCFTA, it must domesticate it at the state and grassroots levels.
Adebayo explained that was why the National Action Committee on AfCFTA was embarking on a nationwide sensitisation across the country, to ensure that each state found its voice in the overall vision and mission of AfCFTA.
Francis Anatogu, Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA said: “We are now at the implementation phase. For us to get this right, we need to replicate what we have at the national level at sub-national levels.
“Bauchi State needs to have a state structure that will help drive the implementation of AfCFTA in the state.
This state is a major force to be reckoned with in the area of tourism, mining and agriculture. These are areas that Bauchi state can also play big within Africa,” Anatogu.