Nigeria concludes consultations on African Continental Free Trade Deal

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The Federal Government has concluded consultations on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which it declined assent to at the last extraordinary meeting of the African Union held in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.

The Federal Government had initially agreed to sign the pact but decided otherwise shortly before the meeting on the grounds that Nigeria needed more domestic consultations before endorsing it.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria kicked against the pact, but the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) backed it.

The Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) headed by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe held stakeholders’ sensitization and consultations across the country’s six geopolitical zones.

A statement released yesterday by the Communications Assistant to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Emenike Chibuzor, indicated that the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA met yesterday to discuss findings from the consultations.

This was the second time the committee would meet to discuss the pact, an indication that Nigeria is still interested in it.

The presidential committee was charged with the responsibility of widening consultations on the framework establishing free trade pact in Africa.

The latest meeting was co-chaired by the trade minister, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama.

Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, reported the feedback from the stakeholders’ sensitization and consultations across the country with sector-specific groups, labour, think tanks and civil society.

Speaking at the event, minister Enelamah commended the efforts of NOTN and stated that the committee will continue to consult.

A technical drafting group, led by Ambassador Osakwe was mandated by Enelamah and Foreign Affairs minister, Onyeama to finalise the draft report this week.

 

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