By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, Wednesday ratified the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, entered into by the country in July 2019.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents while briefing them on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting presided over by President .Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mohammed spoke on behalf of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Afebayo whom he said presented a memo to council in that regard.
He said with the ratification by FEC, Nigeria has beaten the deadline of October 5 set for all member countries to ratify the agreement.
“The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment presented a memo today asking the Federal Executive Council to ratify Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
“You remember that on the 7th of July, 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU). The effective date ought to have been July 2020. But as a result of the pandemic, it was postponed to the 1st of January 2021. And all member-states were given up to the 5th of December to ratify the agreement. That is precisely what Nigeria did today.
“The Federal Executive Council approved ratification of the membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. It was ratified and as such, we beat the deadline of the 5th of December. Effectively, we hope that by 1st of January 2021, the agreement will come into force.”