Trade & Investment Ministry urges Nigerians to leverage on AfCFTA Treaty
Eme Offiong, Calabar.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has advised Nigerian exporters to take maximum advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Treaty and the National Quality Policy Implementation.
Mr Emmanuel Ebukason, The South-south Zonal Coordinator of the Department of Weights and Measures in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, made the call at a one-day sensitization workshop organized by the Trade Ministry in Calabar, the Cross River State’s capital, Southern Nigeria.
The workshop was set up to, among others, promote the use of weights and measures for trading and update Nigerians on newly emerging business opportunities resulting from government’s economic policies.
“Measurements are involved in most trade transactions and in order to ensure fairness to all parties, they must be able to be considered as acceptable.
“The acceptability of a fair financial transaction is a product of the accuracy of weights and measures of goods; this is where Weights and Measures as a department comes in,” said the Zonal Co-ordinator.
In a lecture on the theme, “How Nigeria Will Leverage on the AfCFTA Treaty and the National Quality Policy Implementation – Weights and Measures Perspective”, the Assistant Director, Legal Metrology in Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Geoffrey Jwan, explained that the department was established to ensure that there was “uniformity of measurement for trade, quality assurance and to build trust for trade and safety of goods and services’’ from Nigeria.
…He further stated that the AfCFTA treaty had created a wider market for Nigerians and other Africans to exchange goods and services that were of high quality and appropriate weight and measurement.
“The Weights and Measures Department performs verification activities on the measuring instruments used at the factory and point of sale to guarantee quality of the goods and services, which would also build patronage.
“Goods and services that meet acceptable quality standard will be acceptable globally, not only in Africa and enhance profit as well as the economic and industrial growth of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Nigeria, being one of the few African countries with economic potentials, will earn more income from trading with its African allies and attract Foreign Direct Investments, FDIs, if it trades acceptably to beat the competition from other producers,” Jwan said.
He noted that for the Weights and Measures Department to succeed in its mandate to enhance trade, there was need for the creation of operational formations within States, especially in areas noted for heavy exports.
He said that the department was prepared to collaborate with State Governments such as the Cross River, to develop indigenous measurements used at the various local markets.
In a goodwill message, the State Coordinator of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), Michael Ogbuji, commended the organizers of the workshop for engaging stakeholders to see the need to engage in free trade across Africa for profit and how best to gain from the agreement.
“On our part, we will continue to partner with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Department of Weights and Measures to ensure that equipment imported into the nation and those produced locally are properly assessed to boost our trade and economic wellbeing,” he said.
Nigeria was one of the 54 countries to sign the AfCFTA agreement founded in 2018 at the end of the 10th extraordinary session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union. Its aim is to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services facilitated by movement of persons in order to deepen economic integration.
The treaty would promote industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development and food security.
Amaka E. Nliam