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Nigeria set to join the Guided Trade Initiative – Segun Awolowo – Tribune Online

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Executive Secretary, National Working Committee, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Segun Awolowo has said Nigeria is ready to join the second phase of the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) which is a solution-oriented approach that aims to facilitate trade between interested state parties by connecting businesses and products for export and import.
In a statement issued by the Head, Strategic Communications Directorate of the National Working Committee, AfCFTA; Mabel Aderonke, Awolowo in an engagement with the high delegation from AfCFTA Secretariat Ghana and other critical stakeholders on the participation of Nigeria in AfCFTA, highlighting the opportunities and benefits in the AfCFTA.
At the Senior Government Official Engagement on the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), the former NEPC boss stated that enhancing trade between African countries will facilitate a structured approach to inter-African trade by addressing key challenges and trade barriers.
He pointed out that Nigeria’s commitment to AFCFTA is very crucial in boosting the nation’s economic growth, noting that the alliance will make our economic goals and objectives broader.
“We reached a milestone in the first phase of the GTI. This successful pilot project has brought about positive development changes, capacity-building initiatives, and growth in the economy by impacting trade between Nigeria and other AFCFTA member-states.
“As we prepare to join the second phase, it is to demonstrate and strengthen specific objectives and trade relations, particularly reducing trade barriers, streamlining custom procedures, ensuring infrastructure and promoting value-addition with key industries.”
Speaking further about Nigeria’s readiness to join the GTI, he observed that “Our readiness and eagerness to participate in the GTI is high, and this will be demonstrated when we have the large stakeholders meeting. The new administration with it’s Renewed Hope agenda, is focused on addressing challenges that hinder trade, such as improving logistics and transportation infrastructure. Simplifying customs procedures and strengthening trade related institutions.
“The checklist received from Ghana after the completion of the first phase requires the fulfilment of certain obligations, which Nigeria has began to process vigorously.
“The importance of this relationship is to yield greater results as it will foster a more holistic approach in addressing trade challenges and enhancing trade facilitation within the region.
“I strongly believe that Nigeria’s participation and collaboration with the AFCFTA Secretariat is a marriage.”
On his part, Director, Trade in Goods and Competition, Mr Mohammed Ali, stated that the agreement was signed in June 2019, noting that the AFCFTA is a big train on a journey with the biggest economy in Africa, which is Nigeria.

“The Heads of states and governments met virtually in 2021 and announced the commencement of the AfCFTA agreement. The AfCFTA is a very big train and it is a journey and this journey has leaders. The biggest leader is Nigeria, with the biggest economy in Africa. So any effort or step taken by Nigeria towards AfCFTA is two steps, one step for Nigeria, and one for the rest of the world. So that is really important.
“We have come to the conclusion that trade agreement and opinion market is not the end goal. The end goal is to have economic advancement and industrialisation. We use the market access as a tool to attract more funds and relations to build our economies,” he said.
In his address, Dr Evelyn Ngige, Permanent Sec, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and investment who was represented by Mr Suleman Audu, disclosed that GTI will integrate MSMEs into a bigger supply chain and they don’t have to start going through the process of obtaining facilities beyond their reach.
“As being part of a larger supply chain, MSMEs will grow and move from micro to big markets that many people would want to be a part of.”
Also speaking at the meeting was Mr John Nwajumogu, Special Adviser to the President on industry, trade and investment, he stated that while it is an ambitious target, “we understand the complexities around it, but they are summontable.
“The agreement will provide tangible vehicle to start instituting big changes. A trade agreement imposes certain requirement on you. As a leadership, you have to start domesticating it to make sure our laws are aligned. As a continent, we need it, it provides the cover for us to produce regional integration .Big economies in Africa must think about joining GTI, pilot out some of the challenges they may face”, he added.
Also present at the engagement was Mr Segun Olutayo, Lead, Trade Enablement, Secretariat of the National Action Commiittee, AFCFTA and other key government officials.
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