The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has reiterated the Agency’s resolve to encourage the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs in Nigeria to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Zone Area to expand their business frontiers and enter the global market.
She said this would help to fast track the much-expected transformation of the Nigeria’s economy.
Prof. Adeyeye made the assertion on Friday in Abuja during a sensitization webinar on the roles of NAFDAC in the implementation of Africa Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA Agreement that took effect on January 1, 2021.
In a statement signed by the Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola on Sunday, the NAFDAC DG noted that this requires active involvement of the Agency with the movement of goods in the markets of Africa free zone area while at the same time safeguarding and ensuring that the expected quality, wholesomeness, efficacy to human and animal health are guaranteed.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement covers Trade in Goods and Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights and Competition Policy. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is to create a single market for goods and services in (55) AU Member States. It also aims to liberalize and facilitate the movement of people, investment, and business across the continent.
She said, adding: It would amongst others, expand market frontiers for Nigerian exporters of goods and services, establish rules to evoke trade remedy, safeguard the Nigerian economy from dumping and unfair trade practices and improve competitiveness.
According to her, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA) is going to be the world’s largest trade area in terms of 54 (out of 55) participating countries, adding that It would form a 3.4 trillion US dollars economic block and bring together 1.2 billion people with a GDP of over 2.5 trillion US dollars. Prof Adeyeye posited that this would usher in a new era of economic development.
“Nigeria cannot afford to be left out from the gains’’, she said. She however, expressed satisfaction with the enthusiasm already shown by the Nigerian entrepreneurs in the scheme with room for improvement.
She disclosed that in the extant regional ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) that happens to be one of the regional economy community (REC) building blocks for AFCTA, over 850 Nigerian companies with more than 6,000 products had been admitted into the Scheme with participation level of 50% of the regional total. Currently, Nigeria ranked first with Ghana and Cote D’lvoire ranking second and third respectively among ETLS beneficiaries. Nigeria businesses should build on this record.
NAFDAC is a member of National Approval Committee (NAC) for ETLS designated to screen applications of regulated products under the scheme. She disclosed that from the past factory inspections conducted, it was established that some companies forged NAFDAC certificate through their Consultants and some did not have Good Manufacturing Practice.
Prof Adeyeye however, advised companies with expired NAFDAC certificate to initiate the renewal process before export, stressing that the representative of the Agency at the NAC would ensure that only registered NAFDAC regulated products are approved for export.
She added that the Agency participation in AfCFTA and ETLS NAC is very key to ascertain the Certificate of Origin, and to ensure that only registered NAFDAC regulated products are approved for export.
AfCFTA was adopted at the 10th extraordinary session of the assembly in Kigali, Rwanda on 21st March, 2018 with the aim to create a single market for goods, services, facilitated by movement of persons to deepen the economic integration of the African continent, under the Pan African Vision of “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa. Consolidating Africa into one trade area provides great opportunities for entrepreneurs, businesses and consumers across the continent and the chance to support sustainable development in the world’s least developed region.
Prof. Adeyeye however, noted that ‘’the African Continental Free Trade Area is not a vehicle for transshipment of goods, or settlement of private trade dispute between countries. It is not open for states outside the African Union. Only AU member states that have ratified and submitted their instrument of ratification can take part in the trade’’.