A management consultant and banking expert, Dr. Boniface Chizea, has charged the Federal Government to ensure that well informed protocols and guidelines are enshrined in the African Continental Trade Agreement (AfCTA) before its endorsement in order to guarantee that pact does not impact negatively on the nation’s economy.
Chizea, who gave the advice in an exclusive interview with Business Eye magazine, noted that although the agreement held very positive promises for Nigeria as a leader in the global geo-political setting, there was still the need for the country to ensure that its local production capacity and jobs are not undermined on signing the pact.
Recalling that the President of Nigeria had played leading roles at the meetings held on the pact and decisions taken on its implementation so far, the management expert pointed out that Nigeria’s opposition to the implementation of the pact should have been vented at the preparatory stages of its drafting.
Chizea explained further that the AfCTA was not peculiar in its objectives as there are several other regional agreements globally designed to promote cooperation among various countries, including the European Union (EU) pact, adding that what such agreements do is that they encourage the adoption and promotion of comparative advantage to facilitate the development of member countries.
On the way forward for Nigeria on the regional trade deal, he said: “In the short term we might be myopic to claim that Nigeria might be hard done by if it signs as it could stand to lose a lot given the strength of its economy.
“But Nigeria has a responsibility to pull up the other less endowed countries in the continent thereby underwriting the collective development of all.
“What is more is the fact that there are many such pacts in different parts of the world and therefore the continent for which each country goes alone might be disadvantage as it might not be in the best position to drive good bargains.
“What Nigeria needs to do is to ensure that well informed protocols and guidelines are enshrined to guarantee that it does not cut its nose to spite its face.
“We need to protect local production capacity and jobs otherwise we might let down our guards and then be confronted with the challenges of having to play catch up as we attempt to protect local capacities and particularly employment opportunities.
“Otherwise Nigeria must and should live up to its big brother status as it answers to its manifest responsibility of spreading prosperity across the countries of Africa, particularly within the ECOWAS sub-region”, Chizea advised.