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Why we have not signed the African Free Trade Agreement- Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President and the running mate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate said that the APC led federal government was consulting with key stakeholders before signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Osinbajo stated this on Friday in Abuja while answering questions at the 2019 Presidential election debate organised by the Nigerian Election Debates Group(NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) for the vice president.

He said what the APC government was doing was to ensure that all loopholes that would make the agreement have negative impacts on the country were blocked before signing it.

Osinbajo said that though the agreement was important, the chief fear about it was the Possibility of transhipment, saying for example China can ship its goods to Benin Republic and import to Nigeria under a free trade agreement.

“So we can have a situation where local industry is killed just by the mere fact that we signed on to this without ensuring that all of the loopholes have been blocked. So we are in the process of ensuring that all of the loopholes are blocked.

Osinbajo said that the key stakeholders in the private sector including Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and other business bodies were against the agreement but government was consulting with them.

“We are a private sector driven economy. We cannot say because we are involved in the process, we should just go ahead and sign it.

“It is our duty as a responsible government to make sure that we take into account all of the different issues that are involved before we sign.

“ There is no need for hurrying into signing the agreement . We must make sure we cover all our basis before we sign. ‘’

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