President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said he takes into consideration the impact bilateral treaties will have on Nigeria before appending his signature.
He made the remark while inaugurating the nation’s Committee for Impact and Readiness Assessment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He said Nigeria will henceforth take its time to break away from the past practice, where treaties were signed without making the needed positive gains for the country.
“We are determined to break away from the past practice of committing Nigeria to treaties without a definite implementation plan to actualise the expected benefit while mitigating the risks.
“We cannot go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions and our country being the worst for it.
“A few months ago, I directed a nationwide stakeholders’ engagement on the Africa Free Trade Continental Area Agreement to understand the true impact of this agreement on Nigeria and Nigerians, considering the existing domestic and regional policies as it relates to trade.
“From the consultation, the key issues raised by stakeholders were abuse of rules of origin, smuggling arising from difficulties in border controls, unqualified impact of legacy preferential trade agreements, low capacity and capability of local businesses to conduct international trade, costly finance, insufficient energy and transport logistics infrastructure but our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is addressing these issues,” he said.
While giving terms of reference, Buhari charged the committee to concentrate on the issues raised during the nationwide consultations in order to find lasting solutions to them.
He said: “Your task as members of the impact and readiness assessment of the African continental free trade area committee is to address the issues raised during the stakeholders’ consultations on the Africa Continental free trade Agreement. You are expected to develop short, medium and long-term measures that will address any challenges arising therefrom.”