All roads will lead to the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State, on Monday, May 24, 2022, as our great Union plays host to various business concerns across the country in a workshop on the challenges of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The event, which has as its Chief Host and Guest of Honour, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has as its theme “The AfCFTA Challenge On Nigerian Businesses”.

AfCFTA is a regional trade concept designed to break all manner of trade barriers existing and impeding businesses among the countries of the African continent. Just like its counterpart, the European Economic Community (EEC), AfCFTA worth over $3.0 trillion annually, is seen as a veritable opportunity to facilitate and grow regional trade in the continent.

It was created with the aim of eliminating or reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers amongst the 54 countries that make up the Trade Area. Though the scheme is presumed to have taken off but virtually all the nation’s businesses appear unprepared to tap fully the potential of the laudable initiative designed to boost economic prosperity of nations.

While some smaller nations in the continent look more prepared and have embraced the scheme, the same cannot be said of Nigeria where there is nothing presently on ground to prove otherwise. The various regulatory agencies also on their part appear not to be doing much for the country to key into this laudable initiative.

The workshop is, therefore designed to, among other things, x-ray the AfCFTA principles and its workings, the constraints/challenges faced by Nigerian businesses in tapping fully its benefits and possible solutions. Over 200 journalists drawn from the print, electronic and online media will be taking part in the programme.

The event, which will commence by 10.00am, will also have in attendance the Minister of Trade and Investment and some top officials of the Lagos State Government.

Key presentations will be made by officials from AfCFTA headquarters in Accra, Ghana; from the academia; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), amongst others.

Others are, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Sifax Group, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), amongst others.

Participants will come out with a communiqué at the end of the workshop.