The Federal Government has further explained it has yet to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) because it is carrying out due diligence to ensure that it would not negatively affect the local industries.
Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Office of the Vice President, explained also that agreement was being put on hold to save the country from being a dumping ground for foreign goods.
He said that it was not advisable for Nigeria to deplete its foreign reserves for food importation as this could make the people to spill over the borders in search of food.
Dipeolu said that trade politics amongst nations was one of the reasons some of Nigeria’s exports were facing challenges in their destination countries.
Dipeolu said that due to international politics, most destination countries opposed the country’s exports because Nigeria had taken a stand on imports from such countries.
He said that in today’s politics, it would be difficult for the present administration to harm its local industries for the benefit of a foreign nation.
The presidential aide said that the present administration would not allow the importation of certain goods in which Nigeria had a comparative advantage.
“For instance, yams said to be grown in a neighbouring country are accepted by most advanced and developing countries, whereas the yams are grown in Nigeria.
“It is all trade politics that will eventually balance out. So, it is better to be self-sufficient in food production than to rely on the importation of such food items,” he said.
On the issue of power, he said that the country’s power generation had reached 8,100 Mega Watts (MW), adding that the government was working on the transmission lines to end epileptic power supply in some parts of the country.
“The way to go is that the government is working on gas and other environmental friendly means to provide adequate power to the people,” he said.
He told the journalists that the country’s economy was more than N100 trillion, adding that the government alone could not finance the economy, whose growth rate was on the rise.
He urged the private sector to come to the aid of the government to provide an enabling environment for the economy to thrive.