The National Action Committee (NAC) on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said it has developed eight strategic pillars in line with the African Union framework to boost trade in the region.

Francis Anatogu, secretary of the NAC, revealed it on Saturday to Abuja.

Anatogu said the strategy was developed to achieve the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said some of the pillars focus on establishing the institutional framework to coordinate the multiple public and private sector agencies involved in implementing the provisions of the AfCFTA agreement.

According to him, the strategies will increase production for export capacity to $50 billion per year.

Anatogu said this is being done by focusing on certain priority commodity value chains and growing a highly productive workforce to earn top salaries in Nigeria and Africa.

“On this pillar, our priority is to fulfill all national requirements to enable Nigerian companies to start trading under the AfCFTA once the necessary legal documentation is available from the AfCFTA Secretariat,” a- he declared.

“So far, the Nigeria Customs Service has been designated as Nigeria’s Competent Authority for the administration of rules of origin.

“With this, efforts are now underway to finalize import and export processes, procedures and forms for the administration of the AfCFTA Rules of Origin and the publication of legal documents to enable the commencement Trade.

“We have identified our arrowhead, our high-potential products and services and our pioneering products and services for the AfCFTA, taking into account Africa’s demand and our industrial policies defined in the national development plan, the national industrial policy, the zero oil plan and other sectoral policies.

Anatogu said that the AfCFTA, which emphasizes trade in value-added products and services, presents tremendous opportunities for state governments to develop their economies by attracting and supporting trade-oriented businesses in export.

According to him, a sub-national AfCFTA program is already underway to help states develop their intra-African trade strategies.

Accordingly, he said, the ASB Secretariat, in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), organized a three-day sub-national strategic workshop on the AfCFTA in November 2021.

“Our responsibility to states is to build an ecosystem around a value chain of specific products and services to achieve a minimum of $1.2 billion in exports by 2035,” he added.

Speaking further on the pillars, he said the third was trade facilitation, reducing the time and cost of trade by simplifying, modernizing and harmonizing import and export processes and procedures.

He also focuses on automating administrative and regulatory compliance processes.

He said the fourth pillar focused on domesticating the AfCFTA agreement by updating trade and complementary policies, regulations and laws to align with the provisions of the AfCFTA agreement and conform to contemporary practices; the fifth pillar would focus on trade infrastructure, including energy, digital, water and logistics infrastructure to enable intra-African trade.

According to him, this speaks to existing challenges in terms of the quality of trade and transport infrastructure, the ease of arranging shipments at competitive prices, and the speed and ability to track and trace shipments.

He said that to achieve efficiency, reducing the time and cost required to move goods and people through the various modes of transport was an important enabler of trade competitiveness for Nigeria and therefore a key imperative. for logistics and supply chain.

“Given the scale of the infrastructure deficit, innovative mechanisms are needed to prepare for the AfCFTA,” he added.

“Mechanisms include cluster developments along trade corridors, leveraging eligible customer programs and off-grid solutions for electricity in industrial areas and renewable energy for SMEs.”