The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) has warned on the dangers that are inherent in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Africa Union Summit.
Answering reporters’ questions after a visit by the leaders of NECA at the Presidential Villa, Abuja today, July 17, the Director General of the body, Timothy Olawale, admitted that Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement is laudable and that there are lots of benefits inherent in it.
“We also know that it is capable of endangering capital inflow into the country.
“However, before we start talking about benefits derivable from it, we must also talk of the likely damager it can do to an economy that is fragile like ours, which behoves on us as stakeholders and government to put all hands on deck to address those issues.
“Those issues bother on those variables that will ensure the competitiveness of Nigerian businesses and industry. We don’t want a situation where our businesses are not competitive due to the disadvantage environment they operate.
“Of course, we are all familiar with the disadvantaged environment with regards to issue of agriculture among which is power and the issue of road network; that is transportation for goods and services and accessibility to the different business environment.
“What we are saying is that if all these issues are not addressed properly, to make our businesses competitive, definitely we are going to be at the receiving end, to the extent that our nation will become a dumping ground. And some of the factories that are even struggling presently may end up folding up.
“Of course, we know the history of the textile sector and that can be replicate in any sector and we don’t want us to get to that extent. That is why we are saying government should put mechanism in place to address these issues so that we can be competitive and so that we can take our rightful place and maximize the benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), agreement.”