‘Nigeria yet to sign EU-W/Africa pact’
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya A’isha Abubakar, said that Nigeria is making consultations before signing the EU-West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
Hajiya Aisha who spoke during a one-day sensitisation seminar on EPA organised by the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Kano, said: “Nigeria and Gambia withheld their signatories to the agreement due to some identified issues of national importance that needed to be addressed.”
The minister said that the delay in signing of EPA by Nigeria was not an attempt to undermine the efforts of the ECOWAS commission and the EU.
“We need some time to consult further with the relevant stakeholders and agree on the next step, while our gathering today is a step forward towards finalising on Nigeria’s position,” she said.
Speaking at the event, Mr Michel Arrion, the Head of EU delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS, expressed worry over the delay in signing the EPA by Nigeria, saying: “Nigerian government seems to have some reservation over the signing of the agreement.
“We are here to dispel this misconception. We have no any hidden negative agenda. It is purely an economic agreement aimed at promoting regional trades and investments.
Also in his remarks, the Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Kalilou Traore, said that 20 countries have signed the EPA with the exception of Nigeria and Gambia.