The Kwara State Government has urged the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) to facilitate free flow of African-made goods and services in the State, describing the initiative as an emerging trade area in the world, geared towards eradicating poverty.
The State Commissioner for Business, Innovation and Technology, Hon. Yusuf Adelodun Damilola stated this while addressing the audience during the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) sensitization programme on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) held at Emirate Hotel & Suites, Ilorin.
Hon. Damilola reiterated the State government’s commitment to MSME and potential Entrepreneurs who are non oil products Exporters in the State, assuring that the present administration will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies such as Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN).
The Commissioner also added that the State government is committed to promoting the economic potentials through partnership with other Stakeholders like Kwara State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KWACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC), Bank of Industry (BOI) among others, while attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Kwara State.
She highlighted various ongoing projects embarked on by Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, which include: Garment Factory, Ilorin International Conference Centre (IICC), Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Innovation Hub and Sugar Factory Film Studios, which are almost at the completion stage.
The Commissioner enjoined the Council to work harmoniously with the Ministry to roll out programmes that will be beneficial to the youths, women and potential Entrepreneurs in the State.
“The need to encourage foreign investors to tap from the potentials the State is endowed with, which can be achieved through your Council being one of the key drivers in promoting non oil products in Nigeria” Damilola stressed.
Earlier, the State Coordinator, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC ), Hajia Sherifat Musa, welcomed the Commissioner and thanked the Kwara State government for creating an enabling environment, which has enabled easy operation of businesses in Kwara State.
Hajia Musa pointed out that the sensitization programme was for awareness creation on the concept of AFCFTA for Stakeholders, bringing to fore, possible risks and loopholes in the initiative for exporters’ information and preparedness to mitigate the inherent challenges of the export market as well as familiarize the exporters with the opportunities that abound under the AFCFTA regime in Kwara State.
She described the AFCFTA as a potential market for any serious company or economy due to the arrays of opportunities inherent in its implementation, adding that the Federal Government is working towards the diversification of the economy through export promotion in the country.