The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for domesticating the African continental free trade agreement (AfCFTA).
Buhari signed the AfCFTA on July 7 and the federal executive council (FEC) ratified Nigeria’s membership of the AfCFTA on November 11.
AfCFTA, the world’s largest free-trade zone, is expected to help African countries eliminate high tariffs and enhance intra-African trade.
In a statement on Friday, NESG said: “Having weighed the various options, the trade creation and diversion effects of the regional fortress are expected to lead to attraction and development of continental transnational corporations headquartered in Nigeria, with affiliates around other African countries.
“Therefore, ratifying and domesticating the AfCFTA treaty is a commendable move.”
NESG noted that despite the considerable benefits the agreement would offer to Nigeria, it would affect tax revenue as the country would no longer collect import duties from member states.
The group added that a lack of labour protection laws where employees work in unhealthy and substandard work environments could result in the outsourcing of jobs.
It also expressed concern that a lack of intellectual property laws could lead to domestic producers copying ideas from imports and using them for profit.
NESG recommended that there should be a compilation of various policies that would be affected by the AfCTA, which would be implemented across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“In addition, competent institutional structures and necessary infrastructure must be put in place for effective implementation of the agreement, ” the statement read.
NESG is a private sector-led think-tank organization that promotes sustainable growth and development in the Nigerian economy.
Featured image: Asue Ighodalo, chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG)