Maritime stakeholders laud MAJAN on AfCFTA programme
*Seeks support for group on enlightenment campaign
(Report by Udeme Clement):
Stakeholders in the maritime industry have commended Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), for taking the initiative to hold a roundtable news programme on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
They gave this commended during the Roundtable news event, organised b MAJAN, at Apapa, Lagos, under the leadership of Comrade Ray Ugochukwu.
They also called on regulatory agencies, stakeholders and corporate organisations in the maritime Industry’ to give MAJAN adequate support to continue in its enlightenment programme.
In his speech, the Managing Director/CEO of Mac-Manuel Global Logistics, Mr Emeka Enwelu, who attended as a Guest Speaker, stressed:
“I’m really impressed by the level of reportage and enlightenment MAJAN is giving the Industry. It is quite beneficial for the growth of the sector.
“I commend your President for his visionary leadership. Stakeholders are very happy with what MAJAN is doing in the maritime industry.
“We received your Communique on the programme you did recently on Apapa traffic gridlock and its toll on businesses. Only last week, we saw another programme you did on Investigative Journalism and today, you are discussing AfCFTA; your effort is highly appreciated”.
On the readiness of maritime stakeholders to key into AfCFTA concept, Mac-Manuel Global Logistics boss, also the Vice President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), explained, “I believe government is not ready because the level of enlightenment is very low.
“Government has not done much in educating those concerned about this concept. Look at an important sector like maritime, nobody has reached out to licensed customs agents and other Industry players.
“Government signed AfCFTA when our land borders were still closed. It shows that we are not prepared. We
just entered into an important trade agreement without adequate preparation.
“The only things we have are the population and a large market.”
Also speaking, the Guest Lecturer, who is the Registrar, NAGAFF Academy, Fwdr Francis Omotosho, informed: “Regional trade agreements vary depending on the level of commitment and arrangement among member countries. It comes with internal rules that member countries must follow.
“These include removal of trade barriers; free movement of goods and services across the region; Customs Union of
Member countries must reduce trade barriers to enhance seamless cargo clearance; free import and export of resources must be allowed; member countries have to adopt a set of economic policies and use of one currency; regional integration must be encouraged. Investors who want to put money in developing countries must be protected against political risk”.
He added :
“AfCFTA has economic benefits, which include increase in foreign direct investments (FDI) and reduction in trade tariff. The agreement helps to remove trade barriers. It boosts economic growth, creates jobs and paves the way for market
“AfCFTA is a flagship project of African Union Agenda 2063, a blueprint for attaining inclusive and sustainable growth.
On 20th December, 2019, in Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the National Action Committee for Implementation of AfCFTA. The Federal Executive Council ratified Nigeria’s membership of AfCFTA on November 11, 2020 and it started in January 2021 as scheduled.
According to Omotosho, “The objectives are to create a single continental market for Made in African goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, paving the way for establishment of Continental Customs Union.
“When fully implemented, AfCFTA will eliminate tariffs on intra- businesses to trade within the continent and cater for growing African market.
AfCFTA is to create a liberalised market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiation.
AfCFTA is to lay the foundation for establishment of a continental customs union.
“AfCFTA is to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
AfCFTA is to consolidate Africa into one trade area for entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers across the continent”.