Fred Itua, Abuja
The Senate, yesterday, expressed concerns over the poor awareness of ordinary Nigerians of the importance of African Continental Free Trade Zone Area (AfCTA), signed by African leaders.
It said if adequate awareness was not created, Nigerians may not fully have a grasp of what it means and also enjoy the benefits attached to it. It has therefore urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to create an enabling monetary environment to guarantee that the benefits of the trade agreement reach all the citizens.
The upper legislative chamber, made the observations while adopting a motion sponsored by Barau Jibrin, tagged “Nigeria’s membership of AfCTA”.
Buhari, had earlier in the week, at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in Niamey, Niger, signed the treaty after approving the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on the Impact and Readiness Assessment of AfCFTA.
Barau, in his lead debate, said if President Buhari had signed the treaty without properly studying its content, Nigeria would have been made a dumping ground for good and services from other African countries.
He said: “Nigeria declined to sign the agreement in Kigali because of the agitations and apprehensions by its private sector.
“On the premise that membership of AfCTA would make Nigeria a dumping ground for goods and services from other African countries, he regretted that not a great number of Nigerians understand the profound benefits of AfCTA agreement in the light of the rather intricate interplay of economic theories and their applications as they affect the common man.”
In his contribution, chief whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, urged the Executive to review the cost of manufacturing in Nigeria. He said this will be the only way Nigerians can benefit immensely from the trade agreement. He said: “I want to thank Mr. President for his courage. We need to look into what has been signed. We need to look into security, manufacturing and other aspects…”