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Nigeria may lose €2.5bn EU aid due to rising security threats

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Nigeria may lose €2.5bn EU aid due to rising security threats

There are strong indications that the renewed insecurity in parts of Nigeria may prevent the country from accessing the European Union (EU) €26 billion aid for a number of developing countries in Africa and Asia.

The facility , which is billed to take off in the third quarter of 2017 according to officials of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, will see Nigeria draw a total of €2.5 billion, in tranches, to enable it grow private sector participation in import and export businesses.

But officials have expressed worry that if nothing urgent is done to address the security issues across the country, which is eroding the confidence of the EU, the country may not be able to draw from the aid when other beneficiaries do.

Though the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, led by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), is yet to change its opposition to the EU aid, the major concern with the facilitators is said to be the renewed threats from the northeast insurgency, led by the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Read also: FG suspends crude oil exploration in Lake Chad Basin after deadly attacks

Other threats are coming from the Niger Delta region where the possibility of renewed militancy is rife, as well as other pockets of security breaches across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

In its last meeting in March 2017, the representatives of EU advised Nigeria not to fail in meeting the conditionality qualifying it to draw on the €26bn grant, which it is dangling before the country and other ECOWAS-member countries, as part of the EU-backed EPA agreement.

However, advising the government against the deal, MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, argued that the EPA would sink the real sector further down its present condition, as the agreement had unfavorable terms for developing economies, most of which depend on finished goods from European countries than locally made ones.

“Nigeria is mainly a commodity-goods producing country and has limited capability to reduce and export industrial goods to Europe if it trades same in an EPA free trade arrangement,” he stated.

However, some ECOWAS-member states, including Gambia, Ivory Coast and Senegal had already indicated interest to ratify the pact with the initial €6.5 billion to run from 2016 to 2019, while the balance will be in place till 2035.

The European Union Department of Trade and Investment, in its recent pocus on world trade Organization (WTO), said it had set aside the sum of $2.5 billion worth of grants which when shared among the qualifying countries, would have each receiving about $500 million.

“It is not only the EU facility that may be threatened; other foreign investors from parts of the globe expected to return to Nigeria after the 2016 recession, may be scared”, said an adviser to the Minister, on condition of anonymity.

 

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