Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja announced his preparedness to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in accordance with recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of AfCFTA.
The president’s commitment to sign the agreement confirms THISDAY’S exclusive report last week that Buhari, after receiving the committee’s report, would sign the agreement.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said Buhari would be signing phase one of the agreement while attending the Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union and 12th Extraordinary Summit on AfCFTA in Niamey, Niger Republic in a few days’ time.
According to the statement, countries which signed the first level of the agreement, would then go into country level discussions leading to treaties after safeguards are agreed to.
Shehu recalled how Buhari, while receiving the report last week, made it clear that the federal government would be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.
“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 president had stated.