The Federal Government on Wednesday ratified Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The decision was taken at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
AfCFTA was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.
The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
Mohammed said with the ratification, Nigeria has beaten the December 5, 2020 deadline set for all countries to ratify their membership.
The minister said, “The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment presented a memo today (Wednesday) asking the Federal Executive Council to ratify Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“You remember that on July 7, 2019, Nigeria signed the AfCFTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.
“The effective date ought to have been July 2020. But as a result of the pandemic, it was postponed to January 1, 2021 and all member-states were given up to December 5 to ratify the agreement. That is precisely what Nigeria did today.”
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the council also approved N62.7bn for the construction of Kano-Dawakin Tofa-Gwarzo road linking Kano and Katsina States.
“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum for the construction of Kano-Dawakin Tofa-Gwarzo-Dayi road and it was approved for N62.7bn, to be executed in 24 months,” the minister said.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, also disclosed that the council approved the registration of about three million Internally Displaced Persons taking refuge in camps across the country.
He said the approval was meant to enable the government to ascertain their number and make adequate provisions for their wellbeing.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the council also approved the introduction of platonic medical records and management for the National Health Insurance Scheme.