The @fccpcnigeria has just adopted the Merger Regulation (MRR) 2020 with additional instruments. The 2020 Merger Regulation establishes a composite framework for the application of the rules for notification and verification of concentrations in accordance with Part XII of the FCCP Act 2018. pic.twitter.com/rsyIGh5arj 44 countries first signed the agreement on March 21, 2018. Nigeria was one of 11 African Union countries that avoided signing the contract. At the time, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria could do nothing to undermine local producers and entrepreneurs.  The Nigerian Manufacturers` Association, which represents 3,000 Nigerian manufacturers, welcomed the decision to withdraw from the agreement.  Nigeria`s foreign minister tweeted that more internal consultations are needed before Nigeria can sign the agreement.  Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Nigeria`s delay was regrettable.  The Nigerian Labour Congress called the agreement a « renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neoliberal political initiative », suggesting that increased economic pressure would push workers to rush into difficult and precarious conditions.  Since then, according to the Nigerian Trade Negotiations Office, the Nigerian Trade Negotiations Office has consulted with 27 groups, including trade unions. Nigeria was one of the last nations to sign the agreement.
With a population of 200 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has about 98 million inhabitants in the most populous countries, Ethiopia and Egypt. With a nominal GDP of $376 billion, or about 17% of Africa`s GDP, it is just ahead of South Africa, which accounts for 16% of the African economy. Given that Nigeria is such an important country in terms of population and economy, its absence at the first signing of the agreement was particularly striking. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted this in his comments of 12 July 2018, commenting: « The continent awaits Nigeria and South Africa. Through trade between us, we are able to maintain more resources on the continent. South Africa signed the agreement later.  In August, just three months after the signing of the AfCFTA, Nigeria banned the transport of all products from countries with which it shares a land border: Benin, Niger and Cameroon, and banned virtually all trade – import and export – with its neighbours. Nigerian government officials stressed the priority of reducing smuggling of products such as rice, tomatoes and poultry to strengthen Nigeria`s agricultural sector. The closure of the border has had an impact on Nigerian consumers and exporters, as traders have been denied imports of goods, even those for which they have already paid tariffs, and consumers facing excessive prices for imported foodstuffs – some products have doubled in price. Given that the Nigerian government continued to consult with local business groups in the second half of 2018, one of the main concerns was whether the agreement adequately prevented anti-competitive practices such as dumping.  At the close of 2018, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the delay was « regrettable » and stressed the lack of trade in goods between African countries, the difficulties in getting from one African country to another, and the colonial legacy of these restrictions on Africa`s growth.  The government steering committee responsible for the consultation process is expected to release its report on the agreement in January 2019.
 Nigeria is Africa`s largest economy and has long been a regional leader, so observers, as they became bogged down, wondered whether the African trading bloc would ever have taken place.