27 July 2018

Nigeria: Again, Manufacturers Oppose Signing of AfCFTA

Photo: The Guardian
Cargo at Tin Can Island Port (file photo).

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has again called on the federal government not to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement until the potential impacts of signing the agreement are known.

MAN noted that while its concerns are yet to be addressed, the recently conducted study by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has still not addressed the glaring lapses.

This was disclosed at a press conference addressed by the President of MAN, Mr. Frank Jacobs, held thursday in Lagos.

The association said it was worrisome that the study failed to address the concerns of manufacturers, stressing that the outcome of the NOTN-sponsored independent study on the potential benefits of AfCFTA on Nigeria fell short of standards and lack the much-needed information required to take an informed decision.

MAN added that it has since commissioned a study and expects to have the report in one-month's time.

It expressed optimism that "Nigeria may become a big player and key driver of improved volume of intra-African trade in an African Free Trade Area with the right market offer mix, rules of origin, countervailing measures, dispute settlement mechanism, non-tariff and technical barriers provisions, amongst other protocols and annexures", but added that the only way to guarantee this positive proposition is to ensure that its negotiating team is guided by a credible and strategic country- specific study.

MAN pointed out that there is no wisdom in signing-on upfront only to end up struggling to find space in the accompanying protocols and annexures.

It stressed the need to be certain that the agreement is in sync and would not constrain the country's extant economic policies, including the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

"In the light of recent developments, we considered it necessary to intimate you that an insignificant number of non-real sector operators in the Private Sector are tactfully recommending that Mr President should sign the agreement under the camouflage that majority of Nigerians and the Organised Private Sector agrees with their position," MAN said.

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