MY LEGISLATIVE INPUTS:
THURSDAY, 11TH JULY 2019 ON NIGERIAN MEMBERSHIP OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (ACFTA) SIGNED BY NIGERIA’S PRESIDENT; MUHAMMADU BUHARI LAST WEEKEND.
RE: THE URGENT NEED TO LOOK INTO THE INFRASTRUCTURAL DECADENCE RAVAGING THE NKWO NNEWI COMMERCIAL CLUSTER, TRADE FAIR COMPLEX ALONG LAGOS-BADAGRY EXPRESSWAY AND OSHODI APAPA EXPRESSWAY WHCH LEADS TO NIGERIA’S BIGGEST SEAPORTS – TINCAN AND APAPA WHARF.
On the floor of the Senate yesterday, being Thursday, 11th of July, 2019, I made a case for Nkwo Nnewi motorcycle and auto spare parts market, Lagos Trade Fair complex and the deteriorated Oshodi-Apapa Expressway which leads to Nigeria’s biggest seaports (Tincan and Wharf).
In my contribution to the motion presented by Sen. Barau Jibrin which I also co-sponsored, I made a case for the protection of large markets and industrial clusters such as;
1. Trade Fair Complex situated along the Lagos-Badagry expressway comprising of Balogun Business Association (BBA), Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA) and 16 other market associations where over 300,000 businessmen and women engage in commercial activities daily.
2. Nkwo Nnewi motorcycle and auto spare parts market situated along 100 Foot Road, Nnewi which is the biggest motorcycle and auto spare parts market in West Africa. The road which has been destroyed by erosion has made life difficult for traders as they are forced to offload their containers far away from their warehouses/shops and are left with no other option than to use wheelbarrows in conveying their goods to the market. This ugly trend has negatively affected a huge number of traders.
3. Oshodi Apapa Expressway which leads to Nigeria’s main seaports; Tincan and Apapa Wharf which I have in the past and on several occasions, offered to proffer solutions that will end the traffic gridlock.
What is ACFTA?
ACFTA is a trade agreement aimed at opening up markets within Africa, where African countries inter-trade with 90% tariff reduction as well as free movement of goods and services across the African continent.
As part of my recommendations, I urged the Federal Government to give urgent attention to the erosion stricken 100 Foot Road that leads to Nkwo-Nnewi market located in Nnewi North Local Government of Anambra State. Having elaborately reminded the Senate that Nkwo Nnewi is the biggest motorcycle and auto spare parts market in West Africa as well as the centre-piece of the Igbo Economy, I beckoned on the Senate President; His Excellency, Dr. Ahmad Lawan to send a delegation to Nnewi so as to have a firsthand view and assessment of the deplorable state of infrastructure and untold hardship businessmen and women go through daily because of the erosion menace at 100 Foot Road, which will in no little measure, boost our local economy and African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) understanding.
I also called the attention of the Senate to the deplorable state of the Lagos-Badagry expressway which plays host to the biggest commodity market in West Africa; The Lagos Trade Fair Complex, pointing out the massive loss of revenue occasioned by the poor state of the road as commercial activities have suffered greatly and movement has been hindered.
I noted that the dilapidated Apapa-Oshodi expressway which leads to Tincan island port, Apapa wharf and several indigenous companies such as Dangote, Honeywell, Sahara, MRS, BUA, Sifax Bonded Terminal and numerous other oil companies, car dealers, autoparts dealers and shipping companies have led to the stagnation of several businesses including Small medium enterprises. The losses suffered by the ports alone, runs into billions of Naira daily, while business men and woman have been forced to abandon their sources of livelihood. Almost the entire residents of Apapa G.R.A have vacated the area as a result of the heavy traffic gridlock in Apapa.
I also emphasized on the need to sustain and protect already established businesses so as to tap into the full benefits of the recently signed agreement. I noted that there are great potentials in this agreement which can be leveraged on to dominate the African market as well as other emerging African giants like Ghana which is currently aiming to create one industry per district, Rwanda , South Africa and several North African countries which have their eyes on the Nigerian market with the aim of pushing their products into our market in a bid to take advantage of our population and market acceptability.
I noted that that it would be of great value to the Nigerian economy if the Federal Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment can be more proactive in putting Nigeria at the forefront of the new African commercial horizon, strategically positioning our country to enjoy the full benefits of the agreement. I was of the view that we must protect local businesses as a driving force for the success of Nigeria’s membership.
It is also very imperative that State Governors create enabling environments where each State will champion different franchises that will in turn guarantee employment, crime reduction and increased revenue generation.
Conclusively, I reminded the Senate President of his campaign slogan which borders on a “Senate that works for Nigeria”, stressing that history will be kind to him if policies that foster inclusive growth and economic development are implemented; a vision which I believe he is championing.
Senator (Dr.) Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah;
Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District.
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