Reasons Nigeria should sign AfCFTA, by presidential panel

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The Presidential Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, Chaired by Desmond Obadiah, on Thursday recommended Nigeria to sign the treaty.
Submitting the committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, he said that it will be in the overall interest of Nigeria to sign the treaty.
He said: “Nigeria should consider to join the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.”
He said that over 200 submissions were received by the 44-man steering committee.

Receiving the report, President Buhari noted that the treaty will have positive and negative impacts on Nigeria and its neighbours.
According to him, the recommendations will be considered in taking the next decision on AfCFTA.
The African Union’s Heads of State and Governments had resolved in 2012 to establish African Continental Free Trade Agreement treaty to create a single continental market for goods and services in member nations.
The treaty is to cover agreements on trade in goods, services, investment, and rules and procedures on dispute settlement, including a range of provisions to facilitate trade, reduce transaction costs, provide exceptions, flexibilities and safeguards for vulnerable groups and countries in challenging circumstances.
But Nigeria had withheld its signature to the agreement as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) among other groups kicked against signing the treaty.
They had warned that signing the treaty was extremely dangerous to Nigeria as it would open the country’s seaports, airports and other businesses to unbridled foreign interference and domination.
The groups had pushed for proper consultations and inputs of all interest groups on issues concerning market access and enforcement of rules of origin.
President Buhari had then declared that Nigeria will only be signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement if the nation’s national interests, regional and international obligations are balanced.