Industrialists to FG: Sign African free trade pact now

Industrialists have urged the Federal Government to immediately sign the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) as Nigeria’s delay in keying into it is “shameful.” Speaking to journalists in Abuja, yesterday, at a reception for members of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), the president of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, said Nigeria has nothing to fear about the pact as the country stands to benefit more when it keys into it.

“I want to use this opportunity to ask government to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement immediately. We’ve delayed enough. It’s already a matter of shame for all of us because we play leadership role,” he said. Allaying fears that the pact would open Nigeria’s borders for dumping, Kayode said, “nobody can use us as dumping ground. It is we that people are actually afraid of. We can compete. We are not lazy people.”

He said all through West Africa, the main businesses are run by Nigerians and this he said was also true for the entire African continent. “Everywhere in Africa, Nigeria leads in business. We can’t play second fiddle to anybody. There will always be inter-regional businesses and we play a leadership role,” he said.

The president of FEWACCI, who is also the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Togo, Germain Essohouna Meba, said representatives of chambers of commerce in West Africa that have converged in Abuja would discuss the problems of inter-regional trade and how to solve them.

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