Sunday, August 14, 2016

Nigeria sets 2017 to commence AU free visa entry

The Federal Government has explained that the recently endorsed African Union (AU) passport which entitles citizens for free entry, reports ITRealms.

Disclosing this at the weekend’s Town Hall in Abuja, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, confirmed that African travelers will no longer be required to obtain visas to enter the country from 2017, although he was not precise on the takeoff time.

He said the visa free idea was in agreement with the African Union (AU) decision for a single passport and a visa free travel for all African citizens within the continent by 2020.

ITRealms gathered that the proposal is to boost integration in addition to enabling free movement of people and goods.

Recalling that Nigerians do not require visas to travel within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) but still encounter tough visa conditions imposed by other African countries in other regions.

The policy, he explained, will enlarge economic space for Nigerian people as 10 per cent of the trading is only among African countries, who mainly prefer formal trading with nations outside the continent.

“We are firmly in support of the African single passport and the proposed Free Trade Area in the continent from next year, which will enable Nigerian manufacturers and entrepreneur to have a larger market for their produce. Nigeria wants to extend the free movement of people across the continent beyond the ECOWAS as unrestricted movement of people will promote trade,’’ he said.

Onyeama emphasised that the government is ready to promote economic development in the country by attracting foreign direct investments in addition to promoting export and market access for Nigerian business men.

Chuks Egbune/ThisDay/GEE
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Pix: Geoffrey Onyeama

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