(Ecofin Agency) - Nigeria will ratify the Continental free trade zone agreement once the report of its impact on the national economy is approved by president Muhammadu Buhari. This was announced by the minister of trade and industry Okechukwu Enelamah (photo) on May 21, 2019.
“I think the president has a sense of urgency about this because when he asked us to conduct an impact assessment study, we were given just three months to finish everything and we have done so… We do need to conclude our processes and make sure that the train doesn’t leave the station and go far before we join,” the official said during an interview with Bloomberg.
Earlier this month, the African union encouraged Nigeria to join the zone by ratifying the founding agreement before May 30, 2019.
Worried about its industry being ruined by numerous foreign products, Nigeria decided to wait for the findings of an assessment study ordered by president Buhari.
African countries that have signed the founding agreement will cancel customs duties on 90% of goods. They will also progressively liberalize services trade and eliminate many non-tariff barriers such as the long wait at national borders.
The continental free trade zone will officially come into effect on May 30, 2019, after it is signed by Sierra Leonne, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Those two countries included, the number of signees will reach 22, which is the minimum required to launch the free trade zone that will pave the way to a single market of 1.2 billion consumers.
According to the UNECA, the continental free trade area will boost intra-African trade by 52.3% yearly. Currently, this trade represents only 15% of the exchanges in the continent while the European intra-trade flow is 67%.