From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Airline Operators in Nigeria has described the decision of President Muhammad Buhari to withhold accent to the proposed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement due to be signed by African Heads of State in Kigali, Rwanda as one that shows the President as a listening leader.
African leaders will converge at the Rwanda capital beginning today for the two days conference where they are expected to ratify the AfCFTA treaty, one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063 that is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments and one currency.
The operators, under the umbrella body of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) commended the Federal Government for listening to the concerns raised by airlines, manufacturers and the economic community by pausing with the signing of the treaty.
Capt. Nogie Meggison, AON Chairman said “I would like to on behalf of AON and other well-meaning investors, entrepreneurs and other professional bodies that believe in Nigeria and have invested and continue to invest in Nigeria, to thank the President for taking a bold step to make a difference by not only taking on board our recommendations but also taking a strong decision to pause with the signing of the AfCFTA Treaty,”
The pause will allow government consult with technocrats on the policies to give Nigeria a win-win and mutually benefiting position for Africa and position Nigeria to take full advantage of the AfCFTA.
“We are happy that President Buhari postponed his trip to give us an opportunity to put our house in order before signing the Treaty and to put Nigeria first,” Capt. Meggison stressed.
According to him, rushing to sign the Treaty would have given other African nations and possibly some foreign nations’ unfair advantage into the Nigerian market and is likely to erode the good work Government has so far put in place to diversify the economy and reverse the gains of the present administration in reviving the economy out of recession.