Ambode Urges Buhari To Ratify ACFTA

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode


Up to $6 billion (about N2.159 trillion) in export inflow is projected at the Lekki Free Zone (LFZ) by 2020 and  Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who revealed this on Thursday has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ratify the agreement on African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) which had already been signed by 49 out of 55 countries.

He said it was time for Nigeria to develop sustainable roadmap to rev up export with particular focus on multi-sector products far beyond oil.

The governor spoke at the second National Committee Meeting on Export Promotion of the National Economic Council (NEC) in Lagos.

He said beyond oil, it was now important for the country to put in place infrastructure and other initiatives to support other sectors with a view to preparing them for export.

“Nigeria must show leadership because the whole of Africa is waiting for us to show leadership and we must drive the economy of the continent,” he said.

According to him, the state government has already keyed into several export-oriented initiatives such as One-State One-Product Initiative, adding that it was gratifying to note that tremendous progress had been made in that area.

“Our efforts in this area include the development of Lekki Free Zone as a one-stop export processing zone and we are happy to report that we have made tremendous progress in this particular export zone and I hope participants would have the time to see what it is that is actually going on in that place.

“Just to give you a clearer picture of what we are saying. At the end of 2020, when the investment of the Dangote Industries and other Deep Seaport that we are putting in that place will fully come on stream, the export inflows that we are projecting for that place will be over $6billion and that is just the way to go,”  Ambode said.

He said through the export initiatives being spearheaded and monitored by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Lagos has identified and commenced the process of developing three key commodities in which the state has comparative and competitive advantage. These are coconut, fish and vegetables.

“We plan to facilitate the development of these commodities into exportable products. Our export promotion initiatives also include export aggregators designed to boost production capacities of our indigenous micro small and medium industries. The objective is to create locally made products and services that not only satisfy local market but meet competitive export demand.

“We have also developed enterprise zone, small scale industrial estate and light industrial parks in different parts of this state to provide business accommodation and also factory spaces, support made-in-Lagos campaign and to also enhance market access for our MSMEs,” the governor said.

He said the initiatives were some of the programmes of the state government to support the Zero Oil plan of the Federal Government, just as he urged participants at the meeting to come up with a viable and sustainable agenda that would at the end of the day, help in achieving Nigeria’s economic rebirth without reliance on oil.