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Airline Operators Raise Concerns Over Signing Of AfCFTA



The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has called on the federal government to reconsider its decision with the planned signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Treaty which is scheduled for signing by African Heads of States between March 21 and 22, 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

AON Chairman, Capt. Nogie Meggison who made the call yesterday said it has become necessary considering the negative impact such treaty would have on the economy, together with the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) that was recently signed into effect by African Heads of States in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Considering both moves as hasty decisions in the light of several unresolved concerns that have the potential of impacting the Nigerian economy negatively, Meggison explained that just like SAATM, African Passport, Continental Financial Institutions (currency & taxes), the AfCFTA is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063 and is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

The AON Chairman warned that Nigeria cannot afford to rush into signing of AfCFTA which will give unfettered access into the Nigerian market and is likely to erode the good work Government has so far put in place to diversify the economy and reverse the gains of the present administration in reviving the economy out of recession.

Using the signing of SAATM as an example, Meggison advised that Government should slow down on the implementation, stressing that already there are unresolved challenges associated with visa free movement.

“The basic issue of visa free movement of people and trade is an integral aspect of SAATM and AfCFTA that will go a long way to determine the fairness of the project. Sadly, it is a well-known fact that it is a herculean task for Nigerians to get visas to travel into many African countries. Nigerians require over 34 visas to travel within Africa alone. This is an issue that needs to be addressed first before the full implementation of SAATM or the signing of AfCFTA”.




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