NILDS Public Lecture Series: Experts Call for Caution on Domestication of AFCFTA

  • Tuesday November 19, 2019 14:39 PM
  • NILS Press Corps

The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) has continued to
demonstrate capacity in offering technical support for the legislature to make informed legislation and evidence-based policies. On this premise, the Institute organized the 6th edition of the NILDS Public lecture series with the title “African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA): Issues and Implications for Nigeria” held on Monday, November 18, 2019 in Abuja. In his opening remarks, the Director General of the Institute, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman informed that the lecture series is aimed at engaging stakeholders as well as sensitize the public on relevant national issues with a view to assisting government and policy makers arrive at informed decisions.

He stated that “it is imperative to expose the core issues, challenges and implications of the AFCFTA for Nigeria, and explore ways to harness the agreement for diversification, economic development and poverty reduction”. He added that the importance of trade to the national economy cannot be overemphasized as it is the fulcrum on which economic opportunities,income opportunities, job creation and improvement of general standard of living hinge.

The DG informed that to buttress the importance of trade, the government has been making concerted efforts at improving the business environment and promoting sustainable development.

In a keynote address, the Chairman, House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreement, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai stated that in order to boost intra-Africa trade, the African Union (AU) introduced the AFCFTA on 21 March, 2018. Adding that the Agreement came into force on 30 May, 2019, following ratification by 22 AU members. He informed that the Nigerian President, Muhammdu Buhari signed the AFCFTA at the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union which held in Niamey, Niger Republic on 7 July, 2019.

Hon. Ossai joined critical stakeholders and analysts to raise their reservations over the adoption of the AFCFTA, especially the international development partners who have argued that the Agreement will among other things undermine the development of the manufacturing
sector in Nigeria and labor rights. He added that it increases the tendency for the country to be a dumping ground for products from other African nations. Also, it is the belief of these stakeholders that by adopting the Agreement, government revenue from import duties may
reduce drastically.

During the lecture series, salient submissions and presentations were made by eminent resource persons, among whom were the President of Nigerian Economic Society, Prof. Sarah Anyanwu; Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Yusuf Muda, Member,
Presidential Economic Council, Dr. Shehu Yahaya and Professor (emeritus), Ademola Oyejide.