Members of the organised private sector in Nigeria (OPSN) says they require more information on how they can participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
They, however, promised to work closely with the Federal Government on the implementation of the free trade opportunity.
The OPSN made this promise during the formal handing over of the leadership of the OPS from the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA).
The OPSN is made up of the NACCIMA, the NECA, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Nigerian Association of Small Medium Enterprises (NASME) and the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI).
While handing over the mantle of leadership of the group to the President of NECA, Mr Taiwo Adeniyi, the National President of the NACCIMA, Mrs Saratu Aliyu, said members were struggling to know the requirements for participating effectively in the AfCFTA.
Aliyu said a lot of enlightenment was needed to be done, especially in the movement of goods and services from one country to another has its own protocol.
She said, “Our members have to know and be educated about the AfCFTA. There is a lot we as the leaders of the organised private sector are trying to know.”
Also speaking, Adeniyi, who is the new Chairperson of the OPSN, said the members were concerned about the operational details of the AfCFTA.
Adeniyi said, “We are currently working with the National Action Committee to make sure that all of this is stated out. But you will be rest assured that as the OPSN, we are willing to work with the government to get its assurances and be sure that we will not shoot ourselves in the leg.
“We want to get a full grasp of the implications and modalities of the trade and be assured that we are well protected and that our concerns are taken care of.”
He also assured that his chairmanship of the OPSN would continue with the steps already taken by the immediate past leadership of the organisation.
Similarly, the Director General of the NACCIMA, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, pointed out that the process of participating in AfCFTA was gradual.
Olukanni said he added that the OPSN had started engaging with the NAC to make sure that members took advantage of the free trade agreement,
According to the Executive Secretary of the NASME, Mr. Eke Ubiji, the OPSN took the AfCFTA seriously and have held serious workshop to aid the appreciations of its implications in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprise, an American based organisation.
However, the President of the MAN, Mr. Mansur Ahmed, urged the organised private sector to take a step further and engage with other members of the private sector in continent like the African Business Council.