Buhari taking steps to make AfCFTA workable —Presidency

The National Assembly has yet to receive the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to initiate its ratification and domestication in the country, BRANDINFO learnt on Sunday.

The document entered its 29th day on Sunday after President Muhammadu Buhari signed it on behalf of Nigeria in Niamey, Niger Republic, on July 7, and the 8th day after he approved a National Action Committee to begin the implementation.

Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides that an international treaty shall have force of implementation in Nigeria only after it has been ratified by the National Assembly and domesticated.

Specifically, Section 12 (1) states: “No treaty between the federation and any other country shall have the force of law to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.”

Investigations showed on Sunday that the document had yet to berth at the National Assembly.

However, the Presidency said all “appropriate steps” were being taken to enforce the AfCFTA agreement in the country, including getting the nod of the National Assembly.

The Presidential Liaison Officer to the National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang, told our source that efforts were on to conform to all legal requirements for implementation.

He, however, did not give a date when the agreement would get to the National Assembly.

Both chambers of the legislature are on annual recess till far into September.

Enang stated, “The appropriate thing will be done to make it enforceable in Nigeria, including taking steps for the ratification.

“I will not speak on when it will come to the National Assembly, but steps are being taken to make sure that it’s enforceable.”

The Presidency had said the NAC for implementation of the AfCFTA agreement would “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.”

It added that the “NAC will, upon inauguration, undertake a process of engagement with stakeholders to sensitise them to the opportunities and challenges of the AfCFTA, with preparedness plans for Nigerian economy.”

The AfCFTA agreement creates a single market for the whole of Africa, having received the approval of the African Union.

Mixed reactions had trailed the AfCFTA, forcing Nigeria to delay the signing for about a year. There were fears expressed that the country might ultimately become the dumping ground for goods flooding into Africa from all over the world.
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