By Lawrence Olaoye
Despite opposition by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to Nigeria being a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) meant to promote commerce among African countries, President Muhammadu Buhari, will on Monday March 21, in Kigali, Sudan, sign the document.
The NLC had maintained that the agreement was detrimental to the nation’s economic interest alleging that the government did not consult widely on the matter.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, recently declared that “we at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this. We are more worried by the probable outcome of this policy initiative if it is given life because of its crippling effect on the local businesses and attendant effects on jobs.
“We have no doubt this policy initiative will spell the death knell of the Nigerian economy. Accordingly, we urge Mr. President not to sign this agreement either in Kigali or anywhere. We believe our national interest is at stake and nothing should be done to compromise this.”
This has not deterred the government, as it has insisted that the benefits of the CFTA for Nigeria outweighs the concerns raised by critics.
The approval for Nigeria to be signatory to the CFTA was given by the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday.
Minister of Trade and Investments, Okechukwu Enelamah, who briefed newsmen after the FEC said the government is bidding to host the Headquarters/Secretariat of the CFTA.
Enelamah disclosed though that his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, had been mandated to widen consultations with stakeholders, including National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
The CFTA is the first step in the implementation of African Union’s Agenda 2063, for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, and when in force, the CFTA shall be the largest Free Trade Area (FTA) in the global economy, by number.”