Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday lamented that small business owners in the country are yet to know the benefits they derive from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Osinbajo, who spoke in Abuja while declaring open a two-day programme on Organised Private Sector in Nigeria Roundtable Dialogue on Potential Impact of AfCFTA agreement called for more sensitisation of the Medium, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The programme was organised by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) in conjunction with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Centre for International Private Enterprise, among others.
The vice president, who was represented by Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, noted that the sensitisation was imperative to ensure that the MSMEs in the country benefited from the continental market.
While presenting his report titled: “Continental Integration and the Nigerian Economy”, he said it focused on the effect of AfCFTA on MSMEs in the country adding that the report was to fill the knowledge gap on the possible effects of AfCFTA on the economy.
According to him, the report was based on the surveys conducted for 1,800 MSMEs in five states, covering multiple sociocultural zones to evaluate the awareness and preparedness of MSMEs.
“The survey results disclosed that the majority of MSMEs are unaware of the existence of the trade agreement, especially smaller businesses.
“This is an important finding for the nation as this lack of knowledge will prevent their successful utilisation of the agreement.”
Earlier, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said that Nigeria’s ratification of the AfCFTA provided a unique opportunity for Nigerian exporters to enhance their productive and export capabilities.
“To achieve positive results for exporters and the wider economy, we must be proactive and strategic in taking steps to improve the ability of Nigerian companies to compete with other producers on the continent.” (Daily Trust)