The federal government has ratified Nigeria’s membership of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The decision was taken during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Wednessday.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who briefed newsmen after the FEC meetiug said the agreement formally takes effect from January 1, 2021, while its implementation which was expected to have commenced since July was stalled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the ratification takes care of the December 5 deadline for African countries to ratify their membership.
He said, “The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment had presented a memo asking the Federal Executive Council to ratify Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
“You remember that on the 7th of July, 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU). The effective date ought to have been July 2020, but as a result of the pandemic, it was postponed to the 1st of January 2021, and all member-states were given up to the 5th of December to ratify the agreement.
“That is precisely what Nigeria did today. The Federal Executive Council approved the ratification of the membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. It was ratified and as such, we beat the deadline of the 5th of December. Effectively, we hope that by 1st of January 2021, the agreement will come into force.”
It would be recalled that 44 African countries had adopted and signed the trade agreement to establish AfCFTA which was introduced in 2012 during the 18th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
Nigeria could not sign the agreement then following their absence from the meeting.