Nigeria Sets Up Review C’ttee On Continental Free Trade Agreement
Abuja, Nigeria. March 22, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Determined not to be left behind by other African countries over the newly signed Continental African Free Trade Area (CFTA), President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday constituted a committee to review the content of the proposals, especially its wider security implications.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the FEC meeting, special adviser on media to the president, Femi Adesina said President Buhari was of the opinion that Nigeria was yet to fully understand the economic and security implications of the agreement.
According to Adesina, the president said the agreement had the capacity to hinder local entrepreneurship and encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria.
Consequently, the president constituted a committee comprising the ministers of Finance, Budget, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Science and Technology as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Customs Service and the Nigerian Immigration Service.
The committee is to report to the Council in two weeks.
Adesina said, “the explanation from the president which the FEC bought was that he would not want to agree to anything that would hinder local entrepreneurs. And on the surface, except if proven wrong, is that, that agreement has the capacity to affect local entrepreneurship.
“Then he (Buhari) also said that anything that could encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria was going to be contrary to our interest. So, it is one of the reasons why he declined. Then he said the country is yet to fully understand the economic and security implications of the agreement.
“So, there has to be further consultations with different stakeholders and the final position was that a committee be set up to meet and review the contents of that proposal and they will do it within two weeks and get back to the Federal Executive Council.”
President Buhari had last weekend cancelled his scheduled trip to Kigali, Rwanda, for the extraordinary meeting of African Union Heads of State and Government.
The president had been scheduled to depart Nigeria for Kigali on Monday for the signing of the framework agreement for establishing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
One of the country’s labour centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had maintained that the agreement was detrimental to the nation’s economic interest, alleging that the government did not consult widely on the matter.
NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, recently declared that “we at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this. We are more worried by the probable outcome of this policy initiative if it is given life because of its crippling effect on the local businesses and attendant effects on jobs.”
After a FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the presidential villa, Abuja, the minister of trade and investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, had announced that the Council had approved for Nigeria to be a signatory to the CFTA, a position the president is now reviewing.