13 March 2018

Africa: NLC Cautions Govt Against Signing Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement

Abuja — The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) would lead to massive job looses, closure of businesses and incapacitate local technological advancement, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said.

President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, berated the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah for spearheading the agreement, which was roundly rejected when it was christened Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Wabba argued that the ACFTA seeks to open Africa's seaports, airports and other businesses to unbridled foreign interference never before witnessed in the history of the continent.

The NLC Chief said the Nigerian local business community and organised labour have not been consulted even when the government directed the promoters of the agreement to do so.

"The drivers of this policy initiative, without consulting the relevant stakeholders for possible impact assessment, have perfected a document for the signature of President Muhammadu Buhari at Kigali on the 21 of March 2018.

"We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are shocked by the sheer impunity or blatant lack of consultation in the process that has led to this. We are more worried by the probable outcome of this policy initiative if it is given life because of its crippling effect on the local businesses and attendant effects on jobs," he said.

He added that the NLC find it confounding that at a time nations, including the United States are resorting to protectionism in defence of their local businesses and protection of jobs, Nigeria and Africa have the audacity to want to fling open its doors, windows and rooftops.

Wabba added: "We have no doubt this policy initiative will spell the death knell of the Nigerian economy. Accordingly, we urge Mr. President not to sign this agreement either in Kigali or anywhere. We believe our national interest is at stake and nothing should be done to compromise this.


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