Our true stand on African Continental Free Trade Agreement – Buhari

  • President Muhamadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that it was not just enough to lead Nigeria into the Africa Continental Trade Agreement, but that his government wants quality products for trading between Nigeria and participating countries.

The President, who said that he was aware of abuse of trade and commercial activities both in Nigeria and between Nigeria and other African countries, said that substandard and illegal items were being smuggled through the land borders to Nigeria, leading to the temporary closure of such borders.

Speaking to a delegation from the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and representatives of the Organized Private Sector (OPS) who visited him today, September 20, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari said that his government had insisted that “the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services.”

The President stressed that his administration will continue to solicit the support of the organized private sector, both in Nigeria and across West Africa, to bring an end to the dumping of substandard items even as he called on the association.

He asked members of the association to continue their positive and patriotic contribution towards achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.

“We will soon finalize the National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Your Association is a member of this committee.

“I expect you to continue your positive and patriotic contribution to support us in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.”

In her remarks, the President FEWACCI, NACCIMA and OPS, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, commended the President on his recent decision to constitute a new economic team to steer the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.

“NACCIMA, FEWACCI and indeed the OPS are full of hope that a new era is on the horizon with the calibre of persons on the team which reassures us at the OPS that Government is ready to turn around the story of Nigeria.”

Hajiya Saratu Aliyu also hailed significant accomplishments recorded in all sectors of the economy, including but not limited to reduced corruption, foreign exchange stability, bottom of the pyramid programmes, increased ease of doing business, increased capital expenditures, among others.

The president of NACCIMA appealed for the kind intervention of President Buhari in the provision of property within Abuja for the location of FEWACCI headquarters.

She briefed the President on the 21-point NACCIMA programme, tagged ‘‘Unleash the Giant’’, adding that the association intends to engage the Federal Government on 16 of those stated points with the goal of ensuring business growth and socioeconomic advancement through public and private sector collaboration.

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