Nigeria – Prior to the full implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), experts in the trade and investment sectors have urged the federal government to create a favorable environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive.
They said this at a panel discussion on Tuesday at the 2022 National Industrial Business Summit in Abuja on Opportunities in the AfCFTA for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.
In his submissions, an industrial economist, Prof. Jonathan Aremu, said Nigeria’s MSMEs are expected to be in the forefront of the trade agreement when it kicks off fully.
He said: “Nigerian MSMEs consist of 96 per cent businesses and provide 80 per cent employment according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Small and Medium Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
“Thus we have the market an human capacity to full maximize the benefits that comes with AfCFTA. However this can only be achieved if the federal government provides a conducive atmosphere for MSMEs to productive and also provide them with the necessary support they need,” he said.
Prof. Aremu continued by stating that the Africa Payment Settlement System will provide a pathway for a unitary payment system to Nigeria’s advantage, allowing for seamless transaction and export of products.
Mr. Ndubuisi George, an investment expert who also spoke, noted that Nigeria needs a flexible and functional business market in order to fully profit from the AfCFTA.
“In terms of population and market, Nigeria has the largest advantage in the implementation of the AfCFTA, however for us to benefit we must do the right thing by adopting technology and also sensitizing businesses on the need to be more productive.
“Also both federal, states and local governments must adopt a robust technological approach to improve ease of doing business and improve growth,’ he added.