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Sanwo-Olu pledges support for AfCFTA agreement

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Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, says the state is ready to domesticate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Sanwo-Olu said this on Tuesday when he received the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Ikeja.

The Minister led members of the National Action Committee on nationwide sensitisation on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which the nation entered into to deepen economic integration among African countries.

He said that Lagos had observed the processes leading to the adoption of the continental trade agreement and positioned itself for market expansion across areas of collaboration.

The governor said the state was ready to take advantage of the AfCFTA for growth, as a local action committee would be set up by the state government.

According to him, the state committee will liaise with the Federal Government’s committee, in order to streamline the trade agreement with the state’s economic agenda.

He said that the sustained investment in infrastructure in Lagos State was a deliberate attempt to position its economy for more inflow of trade and economic partnership.

Sanwo-Olu said that Lagos would not relent in its effort to scale up necessary infrastructure to drive growth and socio-economic development.

”I congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the African Union who worked tirelessly to come to this trade agreement, which is in our continent’s interest.

”As a sub-national player, Lagos has quietly observed and waited for a time when we can take full advantage of the agreement for economic collaboration.

”We are ready to work with the National Action Committee to domesticate the agreement for good outcome. As commercial centre, we will play leadership role in the comity of states.

”We know there is a need to scale up investment in infrastructure and build the capacity to be able to take full advantage of what the AfCFTA has to offer for our economy.

”This effort will be sustained so that Lagos can fully be positioned to benefit from the free trade agreement,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu said that the AfCFTA fitted into Lagos’ economic development blueprint, and the state had started to build capacity and put in place requisite services to pave the way for free trade.

He said that the Deep Seaport being constructed in Ibeju-Lekki was strategically initiated to boost the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by achieving quick turnaround in the import and export of goods to African markets.

The governor said the Smart Meter Hackathon, a power intervention project being funded by Lagos Government, was one of the biggest Financial Technology projects in Africa.

He said that it was one of the ways Lagos had positioned itself for continental trade and partnership before the adoption of enabling multilateral agreements.

Earlier, Adebayo said the AfCFTA agreement sought to create single market for goods produced in the continent.

He said that the adopted of multilateral contract would give signatory countries access to combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

The Minister said that since Lagos remained the arrowhead state for Nigeria’s export trade expansion, it was uniquely positioned to take full advantage of the AfCFTA agreement.

”President Buhari charged the committee to coordinate the activities of public and private sector stakeholders at all levels to undertake interventions to prepare Nigeria for trading under the AfCFTA.

”Since bulk of Nigeria’s wealth, both natural resources and human talent, are domiciled in the states, it is a matter of necessity to domesticate the trade agreement at the state and grassroots levels,” he said.

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