John Isemede, former Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has advised Federal Government against signing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) agreement.
Speaking at a business roundtable on Wednesday in Lagos, Isemede said the country did not have the capacity to compete with countries like Egypt, Kenya and Morocco under the CFTA agreement.
The former NACCIMA official said that it was inappropriate for Nigeria to sign CFTA agreement when the country was not known for any product for export.
According to him, signing the agreement was like giving certificate of occupancy to a tenant in the house.
“You don’t sign a trade agreement because you are the giant of Africa with nothing to offer.
“Based on what is on the ground, if we are going to sign any agreement, we should have a known product for export.
“Most of the products we buy in departmental stores are not produced in Nigeria and now we are talking of export trade agreement.
“We need to first develop our export market in the country before we can sign such agreement,” he said.
Isemede said that unlike the ECOWAS Trade Agreement, the organised private sector, who were the tax payers were not involved in the AFTA agreement.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the African Union had in January 2018 adopted the AFTA to boost intra-African trade.
NAN reports that the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis Roundtable was themed “Business Environment and Excise Duty: Maximising Economic Opportunities through Effective Anti-illicit Trade.’’