AfCFTA: Nigeria Will Complete Ratification Before Deadline, Says Buhari

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Dike Onwuamaeze

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerian business community that the country would complete all the ratification processes before the expiration deadline of December 31 in order to enable the country participate fully in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), billed to commence on January 1, 2021.

Buhari gave this assurance yesterday while presenting the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 34th Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) 2020, where he spoke on the federal government’s commitment to facilitating trade and maximising the benefits of international trade through multilateral trade relations for the betterment of the country’s economy.

Buhari, who was represented at the trade fair by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, said: ‘I signed the AfCFTA agreement and subsequently inaugurated the national action committee to navigate Nigeria’s participation in this potentially game changing scenario.

“The committee is committed to ensuring the completion of the ratification processes before the stipulated deadline of December 31, 2020, in preparation for the implementation of the AfCFTA from January 2021.”

Buhari also used the occasion to call on Nigerians to encourage the consumption of locally manufactured goods, stating that the trade fair was meant to attract businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors from all over the world.

He emphasised that trade reduces poverty and raises the standard of living by improving productivity and creating economic growth as one of the key drivers of the GDP growth and employment creation in the economy.

He also stated that his administration was accelerating the growth of the country’s industrial sector through effective backward integration agenda.

Buhari said: “We are currently revamping the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) with the intention of promoting backward integration and increasing domestic production of key products especially sugar, palm oil, cotton, textiles and automobile. We are concessioning two special economic zones in Kano and Calabar while commencing work