AfCFTA is to promote economic and social integration- Buhari

By Oluwaseun Sonde

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President Muhammad Buhari has said that the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is an important part of the African Union- 2063 Agenda which is to promote economic and social integration on the continent.

He made this known at the inauguration of National Action Committee for the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement in Abuja on Friday According to him “We are very hopeful of creating a single African market for “Made -in- Africa” goods and services.

This trade, together with free movement of people and capital will result in faster integration of African economies. “As a government, we must ensure that Nigeria’s position remains that, such integration must be rules-based with built-in safeguards, against injurious practices.

Nigeria’s approach to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement has been very measured and consistent”, he said. He added that the logic was simple, as Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, the nation cannot afford to get it wrong. “We consulted all key stakeholders.

We also conducted a rigorous impact and readiness evaluation. It was after these consultations and studies, and satisfactory reports that I signed the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement on behalf of Nigeria in July this year. “We know the benefits and understand the challenges.

It is clear that for us to fully benefit from this agreement, we must have an implementation programme that reflects our national trade objectives and development plans. This therefore requires aligning, restructuring existing development projects, programme and initiatives. Where there are gaps, we must address them. Accordingly we have established the National Action Committee on AfCFTA”, he said.

Furthermore, he said as a Committee, the mandate is to support the efforts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, stakeholder associations and businesses to realize the benefits of the AfCFTA, while putting measures to address any threats that may arise. “All parties must work together and not allow any loopholes that might prove injurious to the Nigerian economy.

I have directed all key Ministers and Senior Government officials to provide maximum support to your Committee. For us as a government, our expectation from this agreement is job creation for our youth, increased production of our local raw materials and ultimately, exporting quality Made in Africa goods. “You are to submit quarterly reports on your progress, and I look forward to receiving your first report in March 2020.

It is now my pleasure to inaugurate the National Action Committee on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Congratulations and best of luck on your national assignment.Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria”, he said

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