Nigeria: Buhari signs Africa free trade pact

The Federal Government of Nigeria said it has identified 22 products from the non-oil sector from which the country can earn $30 billion and create 500,000 export-oriented jobs annually. Nigeria is the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document. 

This is coming after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on AfCFTA and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Niamey, Niger Republic. 

“What we hope to achieve is to raise more revenue for Nigeria from other sources. You know 90 percent of our revenue is from oil and we cannot survive. Even though oil prices are rising a bit because of Iran, there is a problem there. But we should not rest on our oars because those days of $140 per barrel is gone forever. So we have to look inwards and produce more.

“The zero oil plan is about raising production and productivity, we identified 22 sectors where we can earn foreign exchange apart from oil. We are hoping that in the next 10-15 years we will be able to raise $150 billion from sources outside oil.”

Awolowo said the sectors include cocoa, cotton, cement, leather, cashew, sesame, Shea butter, palm oil, fertilizer, petrochemicals, rubber among others.

“Cocoa is an immediate win for us because it has been our number one non-oil revenue maker. But we are on less than 300,000 metric tons, Ghana is heading to 900,000, Cote d’ Ivoire almost two million metric. So, how do we compete? Meanwhile, if you see the landmass in Nigeria you can imagine what we can do. Another sector is Shea nut, cashew is another breadwinner for us, so let’s raise production, let’s give our farmers, plantations low-interest loans so that they can raise production for us. We are also looking at value addition for all because that is the way you create jobs, we cannot continue to sell the raw materials.”

Read more at: The Sun (Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye) 

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