Lagos Chamber position on the AfCT
You will recall that the AfCTA has been contentious in the last couple of months. Nigeria did not sign the agreement which held March 2018. As a result of the concerns raised by the stakeholders, Lagos Chamber of Commerce organized a stakeholders’ forum to discuss the matter.
LCCI also participated in the forum organized by the Nigeria office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) headed by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe.
In all of these interactions, we have assurances that safe-guard measures would be put in place to protect sensitive sectors of the economy, most of these are in the manufacturing sector.
At the quarterly interaction with the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, assurances were also given that selected sectors of the economy would enjoy protection and that the desired impact study will be done.
In the light of the foregoing, our position is that we sign the agreement, since signing is only the first step in the negotiation process.
There would be subsequent protocols that need to be discussed and negotiated as they relate to specific sectors. It is also our understanding that adjustment could also be made as the process progresses.
We should see the entire process and integration arrangement as work in progress. Trade issues are not static, they are dynamic. It is important to be part of the process in order to influence the direction of the agreement and protect our interest. If we can be part of the ECOWAS, we believe that we can also be part of AfCFTA.
The safe-guard measures in ECOWAS can be replicated in the AfCFTA. The reality is that no economy can exist in isolation of other economies.
The issues raised in this press briefing are not exhaustive. Our advocacy activity is a continuous one. We will continue to engage the relevant organs of government as issues develop. We have a collective duty [along with other stakeholders] to ensure a better investment environment for the progress of the Nigerian economy and the good of everyone.
MR. BABATUNDE PAUL RUWASE, FCA
LAGOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
2ND AUGUST 2018