Buhari Leaves for Niger Saturday to Attend AU Summit

President Buhari
By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will  leave Abuja Saturday for Niger Republic to attend the African Union (AU) summit scheduled to hold on Sunday in Niamey.

Buhari, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, will participate in the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Niamey.

The Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union,  the statement added,  is expected to launch the operational instruments of the agreement establishing AfCFTA.

“The instruments include: AfCFTA Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession Portals, Portal on Monitoring and Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers, Digital Payments and Clearing Systems and African Trade and Observatory Dashboard.

“Prior to the Summit, the Buhari Administration had embarked on extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the Presidential Committee to Assess Impact and Readiness of Nigeria to join the AfCFTA.

“The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the Agreement which aims to boost intra-African trade,” the statement said.

Adesina said Buhari would sign the AfCFTA agreement on the margins of the AU meeting in Niamey, citing the remarks of the president while receiving the committee report on June 27.

”For AfCFTA to succeed, we must develop 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,” he quoted the president.

According to the statement, Buhari will be accompanied to Niamey by the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Governors Babagana Zulum, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and Aminu Bello Masari of Borno, Kebbi and Katsina States respectively.

It also listed other top government officials on the trip to include: Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mustapha Suleiman; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sunday Akpan; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse; Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; and Director-General, National Office for Trade Negotiations, Amb. Chinedu Osakwe.

Adesina said the president would return to Abuja at the end of the summit.