SON D-G says Africa needs quality infrastructure to drive free trade

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LAGOS – The Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr Joseph Odumodu, on Friday said African countries needed quality infrastructure to kick-start the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

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He made the declaration in an interview the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

According to him, without turning around the poor state of infrastructure in the continent, it will be difficult for the African Union (AU) to promulgate the CFTA law by 2017.
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“The Continental Free Trade Area means that Africa will become one common market, just like the European Union markets.

“We will collapse all boundaries, depending on what the African Union Heads of State agree on.

“We may not apply any kind of tariffs because we need to break down the tariffs that are barriers to trade seamlessly with each other.

“In doing that, we ensure that we have all attained a comfortable level of development in terms of quality infrastructure,’’ he said.

Odumodu said that if there were no infrastructure in a particular country, it meant that that country had to accept others’ infrastructure, for it to be able to trade with other countries.

According o him, there is also a mutual agreement, which come with a free trade area.

He said that the mutual agreement means that when a product is tested in South Africa, there would be no need to test it again in other countries.

Odumodu that African countries should begin to appreciate the essence of a robust quality infrastructure for the continent.

He said that it would be a way to ensure that trade within African countries could be accomplished and begin to build a better economy for the continent.

“We realise also that we are not prepared to trade with other continents in terms of level of preparedness,’’ he said.

The Director-General said that to begin to build African economies, wide preparedness for the CTFA was needed to involve the regional economic communities.

He listed such regional communities to include the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS), the East African Community, African Community and the South African Community. (NAN)