The Federal Government Wednesday, said it was not in a hurry to sign the controversial African Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) because of its implication on the nation’s economy.
Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, disclosed this in Ibadan at the 60th anniversary lecture of the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan.
“Nigeria’s reluctance in signing the African Free Trade Agreement is based on the commitment to ensure that only what will benefit its economic interest is implemented as a policy,’’ Dipeolu said.
He further explained that Nigeria would not rush into signing something that may eventually make it a dumping ground.
Dipeolu who was the chairman of the occasion however, said there was the need for the country to diversify its economy into export and increase its revenue base.
“We have to look at the current theory to influence our trade policy while our policy on transshipment must be addressed, ” he said.
He therefore challenged educational institutions to take the lead in championing economic analysis on policy issues.
Also speaking, the Coordinator, African Trade Policy Center (ATPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Dr David Duke, said African countries must have a strategy to benefit from the agreement.
Duke who is the guest lecturer spoke on the topic: Economic Rationale of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He said it was important for African countries to open up their economies to encourage intra-regional trade in order to boost their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment.
Duke noted that Nigeria would benefit from intra-African trade as it would become a game changer in stimulating growth and boosting industrialisation.
He further stressed that African countries need to check external trading with the rest of the world by encouraging intra-African trading.
“The agreement may well offer better opportunities for African economies to industrialise than African relations with external partners.
“The average tariff when we export our goods is eight per cent compared to the two per cent export and we are looking towards bringing the eight per cent back to us,” he said.
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