Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFT) agreement.
Obasanjo made the call at the ongoing 2019 Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Thursday in Moscow Russia.
“I don’t think there is any confusion. I was talking to somebody in government in Nigeria not long ago, he said we would be like a sleeping giant, and when a sleeping giant wakes up he will surprise everybody.
“I believe we have enjoyed the time of delay but of course we have no choice than to sign it.
“I do hope that sincerely before the formal inauguration in Niamey on July 7 and 8, that Nigeria will not be absent at the launching because I see no reason why Nigeria can be present when it has not signed the agreement.
“If you heard the statement of Nigeria’s Permanent Secretary, you have nothing in a statement more beautiful than that, but he is not a policy maker, he is a policy executor.
“Now, he will go home and tell the policy makers that he has made the right statement and its now right for action. I hope after he says that, they will follow through,” he said.
According to Obasanjo, Nigeria supposedly did the AFCTA negotiation from Egypt with a Nigerian minister actually leading the negotiation.
He said unfortunately, while that negotiation was going on, the type of consultation that should have gone on with trade unions, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chambers of Commerce and civil society did not go on.
“Government is only a facilitator but the people who will really make it work are the private sector operators but they are not carried along.”
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