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Buhari okays panel for implementation of African free trade pact

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a National Action Committee (NAC) for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The pact was ratified by him at the 12th Extraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Heads of State earlier this month in Niamey, Republic of Niger.

The committee comprises representatives of ministries and agencies with requisite knowledge and selected stakeholders from the private sector and the civil society to coordinate the implementation of all the AfCFTA’s readiness interventions.

In a statement yesterday by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency clarified that the panel, would upon inauguration, undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitise them on the opportunities and challenges of the policy with respect to preparedness plans for the Nigerian economy.

Upon ratification, the nation would domesticate the pact by incorporating it into existing laws or enacting new legislations as appropriate.

Engagement shall shortly start with the ninth National Assembly.

President Buhari had approved recommendations of the Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. The panel, which was inaugurated last October, submitted its report on June 27, 2019.

The document was comprehensive and analytic with the full engagement of stakeholders in the national economy.

The work of the AfCFTA Presidential Committee was preceded by a nationwide sensitisation ordered by the president.

The report and consultative process raised the bar in engagement by government with stakeholders and set a standard for building support for strategic areas of public policy with clarity on concrete parameters for implementation.

The accord, which creates a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to increase intra-African trade and deepen economic integration, has phases I and II negotiations.

The second stage of discussions is to commence January next year and would cover competition, investment and intellectual property rights.


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