The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has restated the need for Federal Government to thread with caution in appending signature to the African Union Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The association specifically warned that Nigeria should not sign the AfCFTA agreement based on bandwagon effect or on the ground of diplomatic niceties.
Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, represented by Mr. Olusegun Oshindipe, stated this at a conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of lnternational Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos yesterday.
But the Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, said the treaty is very important for Nigeria and the entire continent to increase intra-Africa trade and that the larger the market, the greater the opportunity to be able to increase trading and create jobs for the people.
However, the Director-General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Chiedu Osakwe, said a systemic mobilisation of all the competent agencies within government jurisdiction together with private sector operators is being worked on so that they could become parties to the signatory when Nigeria finally signs and for the agreement to become an engine for recovery and growth in the economy.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government yesterday said it was reluctant to sign agreement to prevent the nation from becoming a dumping ground.
It said the interest of the nation and its comparative trading advantage would guide its final decision on the agreement.
Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters (Office of the Vice President), Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, stated this in Ibadan at the 60th anniversary lecture of the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan (UI).
According to him, Nigeria’s reluctance in signing the free trade agreement was based on its commitment to ensure that only what would benefit its economic interest and boost its comparative trade advantage are implemented as policy.