President Muhammadu Buhari has established a national action committee to begin the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Buhari signed the controversial AfCFTA Agreement on behalf of Nigeria in Niamey, Niger Republic, during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Heads of State.
But the agreement has yet to be ratified by the National Assembly.
The Presidency said on Sunday in a statement by Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, “The National Action Committee will comprise representatives of ministries and agencies with competent and relevant jurisdiction, and selected stakeholder groups from the private sector and the civil society to coordinate the implementation of all the AfCFTA readiness interventions.
“NAC will upon inauguration, undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitise them to the opportunities and challenges of AfCFTA, with preparedness plans for Nigerian economy.”
It added that the process of ratification of the agreement would soon start by engaging the National Assembly so that the treaty could also be domesticated.
The Presidency recalled that before Buhari signed the AfCFTA document, he had approved the recommendations of the Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment of the AfCFTA Agreement, which he inaugurated in October 2018 and received its report on June 27 this year.
It noted that the presidential committee’s report was “comprehensive, analytical, with the full engagement of stakeholders in the Nigerian economy.”
It also recalled that preceding the assessment committee was a nationwide sensitisation on the directive of the President.
The Presidency gave further details of the step-by-step approach the government had thus far taken on AfCFTA.
It stated, “The report (of the Presidential Assessment Committee) and consultative process raised the bar in engagement by government with stakeholders and set a standard for building support for strategic areas of public policy with clarity on concrete parameters for implementation action.
“The AfCFTA agreement, which creates a single market for goods and services and movement of persons to increase intra-African trade and deepen African economic integration, has Phase I and Phase II negotiations.
“The Phase I negotiations culminated in the agreement establishing AfCFTA, the protocol on trade in goods; protocol on trade in services; and the protocol on the rules and procedures on the settlement of disputes. These were adopted by the African Union Heads of State in Kigali on 21st March 2018. The Phase II negotiations are expected to commence in January 2020 and will cover competition, investment and intellectual property rights.

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