- AfCFTA: Buhari to Receive Committee’s Report in January
Nigeria would decide its fate on the controversial African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in January 2019 after President Muhammadu Buhari would have received the report of the Presidential Steering Committee he set up to look into the AfCFTA.
The Presidency disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday.
The AfCFTA seeks to remove all forms of restrictions to trade and investment flows within the African continent. Nigeria has yet to sign it.
As of this month, 49 countries had signed the AfCFTA agreement, while 13 had ratified it.
“The agreement will become binding and implementation can begin once 22 states have ratified it,” the Presidency explained on Thursday.
Buhari had inaugurated the committee on October 12 this year to do an “Impact and Readiness Assessment” for the country and guide its decision on whether to sign the agreement or not.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said the committee was consulting widely with industry groups and had collaborated with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in gathering information on the implications of Nigeria signing or not signing the agreement.
For instance, the Presidency said a recent MAN report dwelt largely on the import implications of the AfCFTA, which was not sufficient to enable Nigeria to make any final conclusions.
To arrive at a definitive conclusion, it stated that another study was commissioned to cover the export aspects of AfCFTA and how they would affect Nigeria should it join.
The Presidency stated that upon receiving the report of the second study, the presidential committee would be in a better position to make appropriate recommendations to Buhari on the way forward for Nigeria in January.
The Presidency gave an account of what had happened on the Nigerian side so far.
It said, “While opinion is still divided in Nigeria on the merits and demerits as well as the timing of joining the AfCFTA, the committee has commissioned a study to shed more light on the public debate on the issue in the aftermath of a recent report published by MAN.
“The report by MAN, among others, notes that if Nigeria ratifies the agreement, import surges will range from 27.6 per cent for textile, apparel and footwear sub-sector to 180.7 per cent for chemical and pharmaceutical products during the three phases of liberalising tariff lines with five per cent tariff rates.
“According to MAN, in contrast, the import surge will be as high as over 2,000 per cent in motor vehicle assembly sub-sector over 15 years when 10 per cent tariff rates are liberalised. This will instantly spell doom for the automotive aspect of Nigeria’s National Industrial Revolution Plan.
“The key message from the MAN study is that despite challenges, Nigeria should go ahead and sign the AfCFTA agreement with an informed mindset, committing itself to engage in negotiations of the AfCFTA, embed itself in the process and ensure that the AfCFTA delivers good results for its manufacturers, especially as it relates to taking benefits of the market access opportunities on the rest of the continent.”