Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari led-Federal government for refusing to sign the African Free Continental Trade Area Agreement saying that it’s nobody’s problem if Nigeria cannot resolve it’s own problem and the agreement will not be hindered by refusal to sign up the agreement.
The former President made this disclosure in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethopia during the inagural session of the Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening the Implementation of the AfCTA. The dialogue which was put together by the African Union Commission and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa.
The elder-statesman disclosed this in his reaction to an important question asked by one of the discussants on the need for all stakeholders to ruminate on the implications of AfCTA without the comtinent largest economy, Nigeria.
According to the reliable media platform known as News Agency of Nigeria,NAN, the only countries that are yet to sign the agreement are Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea. The agreement has achieved the needed number of countries for its implementation since 22 countries have signed the historic trade agreement.
The former President of Nigeria while reminding the discussant that Nigeria took over the process leading to the historic AfCTA agreement from Egypt, wondering why the country suddenly refused to sign the agreement and was even refusing to participate in the session.
He stated that Nigeria initially led the agreement at the ministerial level and the Federal government was ready to be in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda for the signing of the agreement before the government made a turn around.
In his statement, Nigeria needs to resolve its internal problems and need to to wash its dirty clothes outside by bringing it to the table of the African Union(AU)
“It is nobody’s fault if your country cannot resolve its domestic problem.
“If you (Nigeria) is not signing the agreement, it is unfortunate. AfCTA will go on without Nigeria.
“You will recall that this is the first time, since 1976, that Nigeria is not at the table of a major continental process.
“Nigeria should settle its problem at home and not bring it to the AU,’’ Obasanjo reveals
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area, outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 49 of the 55 African Union nations. The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018. The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the agreement will boost intra-African trade by 52 percent by 2022.
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