ACfTA: You have to comply strictly to rules, Finance Minister tells African countries

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has appealed to all African countries to comply with rules of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACfTA) in order to record success.

Ahmed gave the advice during a panel discussion at the ongoing African Economic Congress (AEC) in Abuja on Monday.

Represented by Special Adviser to the President, Dr Adeyemi Dipolu, the minister said for ACfTA to be efficient and record desired success, all the obligations of the trade must be adhered to by member states.

She explained that the reason why Nigeria closed its borders was because the neighbouring countries refused to comply with agreement they all signed for.

According to her, ECOWAS protocols on transit are among agreements signed but they are not adhered to by some member countries.

The minister made it clear that Nigeria as a country did not sign ACfTA for its economy to be undermined by other countries on the continent.

“We will not allow our country to be used as a dumping ground. And For ACfTA to thrive, all obligations should be adhered to,” she said.

Ahmed said in spite the challenges, there were huge opportunities for member states.

She added that the ACfTA must be private driven hence urged private investors to participate fully in the free trade and draw mechanism to make it successful.

Ms Karima Rhanem, Founder of Africa My Home and President of the International Centre for Diplomacy, called for political courage to address some challenges in order to have efficient free trade on the continent.

Rahanem explained that the issue of mobility of people and goods should be made easier for all member states.

She said high cost of travelling within African countries should be addressed.

She added that Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa should be protected and urged that high taxation in the region should be reviewed.

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