The Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the framework agreement for establishing African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), despite a dramatic warning by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
“We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this, President of NLC, Aruba Wabba, declared.
“We are more worried by the probable outcome of this policy initiative if it is given life because of its crippling effect on the local businesses and attendant effects on jobs.
The NLC has accused the government of not consulting widely on the issue, which it believes is detrimental to Nigeria’s economic interests.
“We have no doubt this policy initiative will spell the death knell of the Nigerian economy. Accordingly, we urge Mr. President not to sign this agreement either in Kigali or anywhere. We believe our national interest is at stake and nothing should be done to compromise this.”
But FEC members said that the benefits of signing the ACFTA for Nigeria outweighs the concerns raised by critics.
The ACFTA is meant to promote commerce among African countries, despite the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), opposing it.
Buhari is billed to append his signature to the deal on behalf of Nigeria next week during Extraordinary meeting of African Union leaders’ summit in Kigali, Rwanda, billed for March 21st.
The Minister of Trade and Investments, Okechukwu Enelamah, who briefed State House Correspondents at the end of the close to five hours meeting, said that that Nigeria is even bidding to host the Headquarters/Secretariat of the CFTA.
Enelamah disclosed though that his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, had been mandated to widen consultations with stakeholders, including National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
On if Nigeria’s interests has been protected against dumping and the likes, he said, “This was also a question that the executive council members applied their minds to. The conclusion we reached was that it is very important that in going into the agreement, we are clear we are doing what is good for Nigeria. We want it to generate more exports. African market is 1.2 billion we are 180 million. We have an ambitious economic agenda, and we are going into this wanting to clearly improve market access for our products and our people.