At least 40 million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are expected to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) which Nigeria is a signatory to.
This was made this known by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, during an interactive session with journalists after the flag-off of the nationwide awareness and sensitisation campaign in Kaduna on Tuesday.
According to him, this sector is very important to the government, because of what it produces to the economy as well as the numbers of those employed under the sector.
He said it was for this reason, the government would introduce a number of incentives and support to the SMEs.
“At least 40 million SMEs are expected to benefit from the free trade agreement,” he declared.
Apart from that, he said the federal government will reduce tariff and ease any bottlenecks that might impede young entrepreneurs from trading.
The minister who was represented by the Director, Trade in the Ministry, Alh Aliyu Abubakar, said the idea for a free trade started in the 1980s during Shehu Shagari administration and now 54 countries signed the free trade agreement in 2019 in the Niger Republic.
Speaking earlier the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Matter, Francis Anatogu, who is also the Secretary, the National Action Committee on AFCFTA said: “Our mandate at the National Action Committee is to coordinate the activities of private and public sector at Federal and Sub-National levels to implement AFCFTA for benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Our strategy is to work with the states based on their areas of comparative advantages and priorities as a way of building up our national export trade and creating jobs at the grassroots level.”
He further said “the core objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single market for goods, services, and free movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.
“The AFCFTA is expected to deliver an integrated continental market of 1.27 billion consumers with an aggregate GDP of USD3.4 trillion. Nigeria constitutes a significant portion of these figures largely spread across our states.”