Ahead of the full implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), experts in the trade and investment sector have called on the federal government to provide conducive atmosphere for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive.
They made this known at a panel discussion on Opportunities in AfCFTA for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises at the 2022 National Industrial Business Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.
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.
Speaking further, Prof Aremu said the Africa payment settlement system will serve as an avenue for a unitary payment system to the advantage of Nigeria to export goods and do transaction seamslessly.
Also speaking, an investment expert, Mr. Ndubuisi George, added that for Nigeria to maximize the benefits of the AfCFTA, Nigeria must have a flexible and functional market for businesses.
“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.