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AfCFTA committee strongly advises Nigeria to sign trade deal

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The presidential committee on impact and readiness assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has recommended that Nigeria should sign the agreement.

The recommendation was part of the report presented to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, 27 June 2019, in Abuja.

Receiving the report, President Buhari noted that that though the agreements negotiated would create business opportunities for Africa, but they could not be rushed into without full and proper consultations with all the stakeholders.

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He assured that Nigeria’s position is very simple and that “we support free trade as long as it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis”.

“The AfCFTA will have both positive and negative effects on us as a nation and on our region.

“As Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, we cannot afford to rush into such agreements without full and proper consultation with all stakeholders,” he said.

According to him, for AfCFTA to succeed, policies that promote African production should be developed,

“Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy, but also a continental manufacturing agenda. Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of “made in Africa goods. That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.

“If we allow unbridled imports to continue, it will dominate our trade. The implication of this, is that coastal importing nations will prosper while landlocked nations will continue to suffer and depend on aid,” he said.

He stressed the need to ensure that “our negotiated agreements create business opportunities for Africa’s manufacturers, service providers and innovators”.

Buhari expressed the hope that “the AfCFTA we aspire to have should therefore not only create wealth for investors but also jobs and prosperity for our vibrant and hardworking citizens. The benefits of economic growth must be prosperity for the masses”.

He thanked the members of the committee for the report and assured them that the report will form part of the consideration in the decision on the next steps on the AfCFTA in particular and on broader trade integration subjects.

– APA

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