Indigenous oil and gas service companies and manufacturing outfits that have built capacities will benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria have said.
AfCFTA is a free trade area agreement now in its operational phase among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. It is estimated that implementing AfCFTA will yield a 60 per cent increase in intra-African trade by 2022. Nigeria signed the agreement last month.
The Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Mr Simbi Wabote, while speaking at the inauguration of a factory for electrical power distribution panels and switchgears in Port Harcourt by Alcon and ABB, said the ”establishment of such manufacturing outfit will enhance the delivery of the target benefits under the AfCFTA agreement.”
He said, “If you take the population of Africa and the potential market and given the general level of development of countries, the sky is the limit for any manufacturer that makes the right investment, and has the right quality and partnerships.”
He commended Alcon for being the first company to obtain NCDMB’s ‘Nigerian Content Equipment Certificate Category A’ for electrical switchgear and panel building and announced that the Board would no longer grant approvals for operators in the oil and gas industry to import the products manufactured by Alcon.
The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr Mansur Ahmed, urged Alcon and other manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities presented by President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent signing of the AfCFTA.
According to him, the AfCFTA will generate a market of 1.2 billion people and an active economy of trillions.
He said, “Every manufacturer or investor should look at that and begin to thrive. I am glad that Alcon is seeing this vision and there is plan for expansion. As we go into the AfCFTA, we are going to create a bigger market, four to five times bigger than what exists presently.”
In his address, the Managing Director, Alcon, Mr Gerardo Santa, said the facility would help to transfer technology in a highly specialised sector and create new jobs and expertise.
“We perform the full cycle of the panel production, design, customisation, assembly, testing, packaging and delivery,” he said.
Santa said the company had received all required certifications from ABB and Standards Organisation of Nigeria to operate as a panel builder.
Source: The Punch