Buhari set to sign the African free trade deal - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Buhari set to sign the African free trade deal

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has announced that he would soon sign the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

This is coming almost a month after the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) concluded a nationwide, sectoral and industry wide consultation and sensitisation exercise on the African Continental Free Trade Area.

African Parliamentary News had earlier reported that 44 African leaders signed the agreement establishing the AfCFTA at the African Union Summit in Rwanda.

Buhari attended the AU Summit in Rwanda but left before the signing of the free trade agreement stating that Nigeriawould further consult before taking a final decision on the continental trade pact.
The sensitization exercise was a directive from the presidency to deepen the understanding of the implications and opportunities of the AfCFTA among Nigerians.

While speaking to state house correspondents after a meeting with South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, Wednesday, Mr Buhari has said he would soon sign the agreement.

“I was presented with the document, I am a very slow reader may be because I was an ex-soldier. I didn’t read it fast enough before my officials saw that it was all right for signature. I kept it on my table. I will soon sign it,” he said.

When asked why he had not yet signed the agreement he said, “I am very careful about what I sign whether it is my checkbook or agreements especially when it involves nation states”.

He added that Nigeria is populated, has so many young unemployed citizens and its industries are just coming up.

On building trade relations with Nigeria, the South African President stated that he had exchanged views with President. Buhari on a number of important economic matters, particularly with regards to the oil industry, how to deepen trade between the two countries and how South Africa can be part of the whole process.

 “So, all in all we had a wonderful exchange and we both got a sense that we are now opening a new page in the relationship between South Africa and Nigeria and this new page gives us the opportunity to go beyond where we have been before and find a number of areas we can reach agreements and on this regard make sure that the benefits that should accrue to our people is actually bountiful, particularly in the area of opening up of the African continent through the Free Trade Agreement and we will be able to ensure that our economies grow by leaps and bound,” he said.

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