President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the Presidential Committee for Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), saying the country will no longer sign any treaty without assessing the impact it will have on its citizens.
Inaugurating the committee at the State House Villa, Abuja, the President said “We cannot go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions and our country being the worst for it.
“Few months ago, I directed a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement on the AFTCA Agreement to understand the true impact of this agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians, considering the existing domestic and regional policies as it relates to trade.
“From the consultation, the key issues raised by stakeholders were abuse of rules of origin, smuggling arising from difficulties in border controls, unqualified impact of legacy preferential trade agreements, low capacity and capability of local businesses to conduct international trade, costly finance, insufficient energy and transport logistics infrastructure but our Economic recovery and Growth Plan is addressing these issues,” he said.
He charged the committee to concentrate on the issues raised during the nationwide consultations with a view to finding lasting solutions to its.
The committee is chaired by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah and the President’s Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari as Co-chairman.
It has Ministers of Budget and National Planning, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Justice, and the Economic Adviser to the President as members.
Other members included representative of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, President Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and President, Nigeria Labour Congress among others, as members.