We Cannot Rush, Buhari Says as he Receives AfCFTA Report

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President Muhammadu Buhari has received the formal submission of the Presidential Committee on Impact & Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the State House, Abuja.

“Today I received the Report on the impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Nigeria’s readiness for it. I inaugurated the Committee that put the Report together in October 2018,” Buhari said on Thursday.

“Trade is important for us as a nation. Economic progress is what makes the world go around. Our position is very simple, we support free trade as long as it is fair and conducted on an equitable basis.

“Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of “made in Africa goods”. That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.

“The AfCFTA will have both positive and negative effects on us as a nation and on our region. As Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, we cannot afford to rush into such agreements without full and proper consultation with all stakeholders.

“For AfCFTA to succeed, we must develop policies that promote African production, among other benefits. Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda.

“Many of the challenges we face today, whether security, economic or corruption are rooted in our inability, over the years, to domesticate the production of the most basic requirements and create jobs for our very vibrant, young and dynamic population.

“Henceforth, we shall ensure that our negotiated agreements create business opportunities for Africa’s manufacturers, service providers and innovators.

“The AfCFTA we aspire to have should therefore not only create wealth for investors but also jobs and prosperity for our vibrant and hardworking citizens. The benefits of economic growth must be prosperity for the masses.

“I assure that this report will form part of the consideration in our decision on the next steps on the AfCFTA in particular and on broader trade integration subjects.

“I congratulate all members of the Committee for the work done, and thank all stakeholders and organizations including our development partners that provided support to the Committee in one form or another,” Buhari said.

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