The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says Federal Government’s decision to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will not expose Nigeria to economic hazards.
ACCI President, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said this in a statement issued in Abuja by Mr Gena Lubem, Media and Strategy Officer of ACCI.
Kayode also commended the Federal Government for its decision to sign the AfCFTA:
“Nigeria signing the AfCFTA does not in any way expose it to any economic or social hazards.
“Hence it has adequate and all the necessary safeguards against smuggling, dumping and other risks or threats to the internal development of individual countries in the region.”
Kayode, who is also the AU Trade Policy Ambassador and Vice-President, Pan African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), said the Organized Private Sector (OPS) supported the agreement in view of its attendant benefits on Nigerian economy.
“I want to commend the Federal Government for the decision to sign this agreement as was pushed by myself, the OPS and recommended by the presidential committee.
“What is important to us in the OPS is the need to immediately log into the initiative.
“The AfCFTA is aimed at integrating the whole continent into the two billion population market this will expand,” he said.
Kayode said that the African Union’s Heads of States and Governments had resolved to establish AfCFTA to create a single continental market for goods and services in member nations.
According to him, the agreement covers trade in goods, services, investment, and rules and procedures on dispute settlement.
He explained that it included a range of provisions to facilitate trade, reduce transaction costs, provide exceptions, flexibilities and safeguards for vulnerable groups and countries in challenging circumstances.
“These are opportunities we can easily access. We don’t need to hesitate.
“The issues raised by the government that AfCFTA will not help the country because of infrastructure, fear of being an avenue for dumping of goods and leading to the death of local industries did not add up.
“These are challenges that we can easily surmount if we put our arts together. In any case, there are several instruments of negotiations in the agreement so we have to move along with the rest of the world.
“Nobody will wait for us. We are resilient, competitive and men of strong will. AfCFTA will tremendously expose our people to opportunities and lead to expansion of their businesses,’’ Kayode said.
The agreement will be signed at the AU summit scheduled to hold in Niamey, Niger from July 4 to July 8.
Amaka E. Nliam