The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has expressed concerns over the impact of the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA), describing it as a delicate approach to destabilize Nigeria’s manufacturing sector.
The group believes that, just like the EPA, AfCFTA might be another step by Morocco to begin massive flooding of EU products into the African terrain, with Nigeria being a potential market.
President on MAN, Dr Frank Udemba Jacobs, at a media parley in Lagos further urged the Federal Government to convene a special meeting of relevant stakeholders and experts on trade policy before signing the framework agreement for the establishment of the AfCFTA at the extra ordinary meeting of the African Union Heads of States and Government in Kigali, Rwanda, of which President Buhari had cancel his trip to.
According to Jacobs, manufacturers are jittery because the country does not have the infrastructure to enable them compete favourably with other African counterparts, including the US and EU. Emphasising that part of the agreement, which includes the eventual 10% tariff line, is inconsiderate compared to that of the ECOWAS; of which Nigeria is a beneficiary.
Although, MAN believes that the AfCFTA and other trade agreement is beneficial to the country, but the agreement should be scrutinized before the president appends his signature.
“MAN recommends that the Federal government should, as a matter of urgency, set in motion a process that will enable all stakeholders on the international trade value chain in Nigeria to quickly review the text of the draft AfCFTA agreement and come up with comments on areas that are not in the best interest of the Nigerian economy and sectors.”
As regards Morocco’s entry into ECOWAS through the EPA agreement, MAN further urged the government to weigh its decision before the EU comes in through the back door.
“FG should reconsider the National position on EPA vis-à-vis the AfCFTA especially on tariff lines of products on the sensitive/exclusion list, with a view to ensuring that the EU-EPA is not reintroduced through the AfCFTA back door.”
“Obtain and consider ECOWAS position on AfCFTA and mandate NOTN to share the memo on AfCFTA negotiations sent to the Presidency with strategic stakeholders”.
Though, Nigeria started the initiation of the trade agreement, many are worried that the backing down of the country might change the perception of the world towards the country’s economic trade negotiations and agreement.
However, the concerns of the manufacturers raised, according to Jacobs, is to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out in an initiative that would shore up the country’s manufacturing sector
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