Some major stakeholders on Monday have expressed their worries over the signing of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
They said it was too early for Nigeria to sign such agreement, noting that for an agreement like AfCFTA to be reached, the country would need to put in place necessary infrastructures to make investments thrive.
The stakeholders made this known at the 8th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House in Abuja.
Last week, President Buhari had disclosed that he would soon sign the AfCFTA on behalf of Nigeria, noting that the Federal Government was making necessary consultations with major stakeholders.
The stakeholders, who warned that the country will eventually become a dumping ground, said infrastructures like good interstate roads, power, access to ports, efficient rail transportation are needed in the country.
Speaking at the forum, the Chairman of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Business Group and former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chief Mrs. Nike Akande, said the country was not ready for the agreement.
She added that Nigeria’s goods and services are not competitive enough, pointing out that good infrastructure is key to promoting trade and investment.
On his part, the Vice President of the North-West Zone of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engineer Ibrahim Usman, warned that trouble is likely to loom if the nation fails to get it right.
“We agree that the agreement is for services and not goods. If things are still work in progress, why the hurry?” he queried
In his reaction, Osinbajo said the country cannot afford to take the back seat on the issue, stressing that this is the time for Nigeria to act on the agreement.
“While the engine is running, we are not going to wait. I think this is the time to go ahead and do something about it,” he said.
The Vice President noted that the current administration has invested massively on infrastructures in the country.