National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has announced its plan, to monitor and provide informed inputs into the National Assembly bills that will have a positive impact on businesses and the private sector in Nigeria.
Speaking at the 61st Annual General Meeting and investiture ceremony, the new National President of NACCIMA, Chief John Udeagbala, said his administration will initiate a paradigm shift in their interface with the National Assembly by creating a liaison presence at the Assembly complex.
Udeagbala noted that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement commenced in January 2021, is expected to lead to the creation of the largest trading area of 55 countries, unites over 1.5 billion people with a prospective GDP of about $3trillion.
”This is a giant leap towards increasing intra-African trade and creating collective wealth. It is also a bold step to take Africans out of poverty. This is why we have focused on it at this Conference. We are delighted at the work of the National Action Committee on the AfCFTA since its establishment and have been part of its sensitization activities through the NACCIMA Committee on the AfCFTA.
“We will continue to advocate for the full implementation of this agreement and ensure that Nigerian businesses harness its full benefits. This will certainly be an important strategy in our quest to ensure Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent; taking note that Nigerian businesses are already strongly rooted in many African countries.
“Within the tenure of this administration, I plan to follow through with the brilliant records of my predecessors in office. My Presidency is committed to sustaining NACCIMA’s legacy and providing creative ways to support the business community and facilitate real-time measures and innovations in favour of businesses.
“As the voice of Nigerian Business, NACCIMA will deepen its engagement with government, the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria, and other stakeholders through advocacy and various platforms that will further strengthen our capacity to influence policies and decisions in favor of business.
He pointed out that this giant step by Africa is expected to lead to the creation of the largest trading area of 55 countries, unite over 1.5 billion people with a prospective gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3trillion.
According to Udeagbala: “This is a giant leap towards increasing intra-African trade and creating collective wealth. It is also a bold step to take Africans out of poverty.
“This is why we have focused on it at this conference. We are delighted at the work of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA since its establishment and have been part of its sensitization activities, through the NACCIMA committee on AfCFTA.
The NACCIMA President promised that the Association will continue to advocate for the full implementation of the agreement and ensure that Nigerian businesses harness its full benefits”, he added.
Stressing the benefits, he said, AfCFTA will certainly be an important strategy in its quest to ensure Nigeria’s economic influence on the continent; taking note that Nigerian businesses are already strongly rooted in many African countries.
In her speech, Hajiya Saratu Iya Aliyu, immediate past National President of NACCIMA, that the theme of the conference, which is “The role of the organized private sector in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development: strategic options on trading under AFCFTA, provides an opportunity for the chamber movement, to discuss how to bring about economic growth in Nigeria.
According to Aliyu, the theme of the conference is unique, because the importance of the private sector in every economy cannot be overemphasized.
She stated that NACCIMA, as a paramount member of Nigeria’s economy will continue to champion the course of business, through free enterprise, constructive competitiveness, and trade facilitation.
“In line with the objectives of our association, we will continue to contribute ideas for the overall stability of the nation, while promoting growth in the private sector and exploring local and international networking opportunities for business activities.
“NACCIMA as the umbrella body for all city, state, regional, bilateral, multilateral chambers of commerce, including business and professional associations in Nigeria, is willing and eager to partner all stakeholders to ensure private sector operators contribute effectively towards transforming the country’s economy.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on public sector matters and secretary of the National Action Committee on AFCFTA, Mr. Francis Anatogu, observed that for Nigeria to trade under AfCFTA, it must have a stable environment that would support businesses to flourish.
“It remains on us as Nigerians to know the landscape that’s leading us to what we call AFCFTA. If we think we’ll succeed in AFCFTA, by importing from abroad and circulating it, we’re making a mistake”.
He suggests that the focus should be on the industrial revolution and the production of what the country will consume.
“We must realize that we have to be involved in things that’ll reduce our import bills.
“We have to build on other infrastructure and manage our borders properly. We can’t trade under AfCFTA with an unprotected border and circulation of fake products”.
Anatogu, further observed that without peace and security that businesses cannot thrive and urged all citizens to realize their roles in regional integration.
“It’s crucial and only a few African countries have companies that are driving towards that. And this is where the private sector ought to take advantage of AfCFTA.
“Aside Dangote that’s spreading across Africa, other Nigerian brands and companies aren’t spreading”.
He urged the federal government to take advantage of AfCFTA, by building a strong private sector that will lead and dominate, noting that Africa is crying for businesses to take advantage of.
According to him, the space is large and a lot of things are lacking in our neighbouring countries yearning for us to take advantage of.
“Nigerian businesses must go out as our banks are going out doing great in our neighbouring countries. We should be the major beneficiaries of AfCFTA. We already have the capacity to take over the African market.
“Intra Africa investment or Africa to Africa investment is important and we can take advantage of it under the AfCFTA, because we can now invest in other neigbouring African countries, by complying with their laws.
He urged local manufacturers to improve on their products, add value to them and push it out there for business success in Africa.
“We must focus on impact investment that solves an existing problem as well as generating income as well for the investors. We must see opportunities that are available by problems that are confronting us,” he stated