ACFTA: Nigeria not in a hurry to make mistake – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday said that Nigeria was taking its time to look at the pros and cons of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) before signing.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday said that Nigeria was taking its time to look at the pros and cons of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) before signing.
Adeosun said this in Abuja at the 2018 Annual Meetings of the Afreximbank, with the theme: “Powering Africa Through Regional Integration”.
She said that the African trade agreement was too important for the country to sign without making sure that the interest of its people was protected.
She said that the government had embarked on a nationwide consultation with state governments, local government authorities as well as manufacturers and other stakeholders.
The minister revealed that the government was almost done with the consultant and that it would take a decision on whether to sign or not very soon.
Adeosun said: “We have been doing a lot of consultation around the country, with manufacturer groups and other stakeholders.
“People are asking legitimate questions about how the AfCFTA affects them.
“It is extremely important for Nigeria to take its time to do this because we must never be in a hurry to get things wrong.
“We must get things right and that is why we must follow all the due process so that we can be able to say that we have done all the things that we are expected to do.
“So that is simply what has been happening in the last few months.”
Meanwhile, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramphosa, said that apart from the obvious gains of the AfCFTA, which is to improve intra-African trade, it would also improve its banking sector.
He said also that the ACFTA also offered great opportunities for other financiers and brought in the right type of Foreign Direct Investment into the continent.
He said: “With the signing of the AfCFTA, African banks will also be seeing great opportunities for infrastructure development.
“They will be seeing that African countries are now serious about developing trade and that itself will present opportunities for them.
“I know for a fact that the EU Development Bank has already highlighted the importance of the AfCFTA in relations to the development and the financing of infrastructure programmes.
“This is because they have already seen a great business opportunities for a number of entrepreneurs, as well as countries.”
Ramphosa also spoke about the need for collaboration between the private and public sector, to bridge the huge infrastructure deficit on the continent.
The AfCFTA is expected to cover 1.2 billion Africans with Gross Domestic Product of 2.5 trillion dollars and in 2050, it will cover four billion Africans, constituting 36 per cent of the global population.
The agreement is expected to increase intra-African trade from the current 16 per cent to 53 per cent with a corresponding GDP growth and increase employment and job creation on the continent.
49 African countries have signed the agreement, leaving Nigeria and others.

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