Reps urge FG to harness ACFTA benefits

...Sets Committee to visit Libya over killings of Nigerians

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to set machineries in motion to ensure that Nigeria optimizes the expected benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, ACFTA recently signed President Muhammadu Buhari.

The House commended President Buhari for taking the step of placing Nigeria in the right place among her colleagues in the Continent of Africa through the signing of the ACFTA and mandated the Committees on Special Duties and Commerce (when constituted) to ensure implementation.

These resolutions were reached at plenary, following a motion on: ‘Need to Assess the African Continental Free Trade Agreement Signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’, sponsored by Odebunmi Dokun (APC, Oyo).

Dokun, while presenting the motion noted that, “President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of States and Governments in Niamey, Niger Republic on Sunday 7 July, 2019 signed a Pact to establish the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria.

“Also notes that the President, while signing the Agreement, stated that the Nigerian Government will seek to include terms that will engender the development of policies that will promote African production, among other policies, while reiterating that what Africa needs goes beyond trade policy but includes a manufacturing agenda as well as attracting investments and combating smuggling.

“Believes that President Buhari deserves commendation for signing the Trade Agreement with significant caution on the need to prevent excessive prosperity for importing nations along the coasts while landlocked nations will continue to suffer.

“Further notes that Nigeria, as the largest economy in Africa should, in line with the Agreement, define various ways to optimize benefits accruable from the Pact by ensuring that its exports to other African Markets surpass its imports in order for it to have positive effects on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Balance of Trade Payments and Employment generation objectives.

“Also believes that if that is not done, the nation could be turned into a dumping ground for products from other African Countries, a development that will be adverse to the nation’s Macroeconomic Objectives.

Meanwhile, the House resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee to visit Libya for an on the spot investigation of the state of Nigerians in various detention centers across Libya and what the Nigeria Mission is doing to assist them, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

It also urged the Nigerian Mission in Tripoli, Libya to assist by issuing emergency travel documents to stranded Nigerians to enable them return home.

These resolutions were sequel to the motion
on: ‘Killings of Nigerians in Libya and the Bombing of Tajoura Detention Centre’, moved by Chukwuma Umeoji (APGA, Anambara)

Presenting the motion, Umeoji, said: “the Houseotes that many Nigerians have been killed in various detention centres across Libya, especially during the bombing of Tajoura detention centre.

“Also notes that the United Nations (UN) report indicated that Libya guards shot at migrants trying to flee the Tajoura detention Centre after it had been hit by the bomb;

“Concerned that the battle for control of Tripoli between the Libyan warlord, Gen. Khalifa and the United Nations backed Government of National Accord will further endanger the lives of Nigerian Migrants in Libya”.


James Kwen, Abuja

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