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Published On: Thu, Mar 22nd, 2018

CFTA: I won’t sign agreement that’ll hinder local entrepreneur -Buhari

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…sets up panel to review framework agreement

By Lawrence Olaoye

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that he would not enter into any agreement that will affect local entrepreneur in the country.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting yesterday, Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, explained that the President declined from signing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), which other African head of governments entered into yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda, because he would not want Nigeria to become a dumping site for imported goods.
According to him, the President had set up a committee to review the framework agreement urging the Minister of Labour to call for a stakeholders meeting with labour movement to brainstorm on the implications of the CFTA framework agreement.
Adesina said “The explanation from the President which the FEC bought was that he would not want to agree to anything that would hinder local entrepreneurs. And on the surface except if proven wrong is that that agreement has the capacity to affect local entrepreneurship.
“Then he also said that anything that could encourage the dumping of finished goods in Nigeria was going to be contrary to our interest. So, it is one of the reasons while he declined. Then he said the country is yet to fully understand the Economic and security implications of the agreement.
“So, there has to be further consultations with different stakeholders and the final position was that a committee be set up to meet and review the contents of that proposal and they will do it within two weeks and get back to the Federal Executive Council.
The Committee which has two weeks to submit its report will be expected to look at the security implications of the agreement.”
Adesina said members of the Committee are the ministries and agencies of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Labour and Employment, Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology.
The agencies are, Federal Inland Revenue Services, the Central Bank of Nigeria, Customs and Immigration. So, they will constitute the Committee that will look into the proposals that are contained in the Continental Free Trade Area and they will brief the Federal Executive Council in two weeks.”
The FEC chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had last Wednesday approved the signing of the CFTA by the President on behalf of Nigeria.
But President Buhari on Saturday cancelled Nigeria’s participation in the signing of the agreement framework even when some of delegations from the country had arrived Kigali for the meeting.

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