Chinwendu Obienyi and Uche Henry
Nigeria has been urged to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement(AFCFTA) to avert the danger of being left behind in matters of trade amongst other African countries.
This was the view of experts at the annual Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism, in Lagos, Tuesday.
Speaking during the lecture, President and Chairman of Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Uche Olowu, noted that Nigeria being the biggest economy in Africa ought not to lag behind ratifying the trade agreement but should be at the fore front.
According to Olowu “Nigeria is one of the very few countries yet to sign the AFCFTA, despite the large number of manufacturing companies and other small and medium enterprises in the country, the Federal Government does not need a second thought to key into the vision, and if Nigeria does not sign the continental agreement, I am afraid it will not only be a dumping ground for substandard products but a final destination for totally rejected goods and services from other African countries.” Also speaking, Vice president, Corporate and Governement Relations, OLAM Nigeria, Ade Adefeko, noted that there are several comparative advantages for Nigeria to trade with other African countries than trading with countries in other continents, stressing that it will not only help the nation but Africa to develop economically.
“Rather than doing business with western economies, it is to our advantage to trade with our sister countries, therefore Nigeria should sign this business agreement, after which we must ratify and then domesticate it.”
He further charged the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and the Minister in charge to compare the benefits accruable to Nigeria vis-sa-vis other countries when it appends its signature to the agreement and advise the president accordingly.
“I think collaboration in this regard is better than been in isolation, thus, we task the Federal Government to save this country from economic woes by signing this agreement first and also take giants steps to revive the economy because Nigerians have suffered untold hardship due to poor economic policies as well as actions and inactions of the government on critical issues bordering our whole being.” Adefeko said.