President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assured that the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty would not affect the interests of manufacturer in the country.
He assured the manufacturing and business community that proper safeguards would be put in place to block adverse malpractices.
The President gave the reassurance when he hosted the leadership of the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), led by its President Babatunde Ruwase, at the State House in Abuja.
According to him, this will be done in the next phase of AfCFTA negotiations.
He said, “The consultative approach Nigeria took on the AfCFTA is just another example of our desire for sustainable and inclusive growth.
“The team visited all the geopolitical zones. We met farmers, commodity traders, manufacturers, bankers and stock brokers. And we listened and made note of their views.
“Our studies revealed that although the services sector was doing ok, other key job creating sectors such as manufacturing and processing were still lagging behind.
“This is evident by the fact that intra-African trade only accounts for 14 per cent of Africa’s total trade. As a continent, our consumption is mostly of goods imported from outside the continent.
“We viewed this as both an opportunity and a threat. It is an opportunity as Nigerian manufacturers can aggressively expand to meet the huge demand across the continent.
“It is a threat as one can abuse the rules of origin to flood the market with imports from outside the continent thereby destroying jobs here at home.
“Nigeria’s engagement in the next phase of the negotiations is to ensure proper safeguards are put in place to support African manufacturers. We shall continue to count on your support to ensure this goal is achieved.”
Ruwase listed the importance of the CAMA bill and the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) as he urged the President to sign them into law.
By Babatunde Alao…