Buhari, at last, to sign AfCTA

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Nigeria is set to sign the much-talked about free trade pact for Africa which would allow goods and persons to enter African states without mush hindrance. President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to sign in 2018 on the shrill warning of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) who feared dumping would take over.

Many however slammed the president for not joing other African countries to open their doors.

President set up a panel to look at it again. Many experts advised Nigeria not to sign now but use the period to build up capacity for manufacturer in order to enjoy the benefits of open borders.

Buhari has now approved the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement, Garba Shehu, his spokesman said Tuesday in a statement.

Shehu said: “By this, he will be signing the Phase one of the agreement in the course of his attendance at the Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and 12th Extraordinary Summit on AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger Republic in a few days’ time.

A country that signs the first level will then go into country=level discussions leading to treaties after safeguards are agreed to.

In accepting the reports as submitted, President Buhari made it clear that Nigerian government will be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.

In his words, “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,”” the statement said.

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