Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said except the federal government address the challenge of infrastructural deficit, market access of 10 per cent and enforcement of rules of origin, African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) must not be signed. This was disclosed by the MAN president, Dr. Frank Jacobs , at a press conference held in Lagos yesterday.
According to him, it was pertinent to mention that MAN was not oblivious of the benefits inherent in installing a continental trade agreement like AFCTA, as it could improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development. Jacobs continued, “It is pertinent for government fix power, roads and rail that would make Nigeria to be competing globally such agreement must not be signed. Nigeria cannot afford to suffer loss in terms of employment.”
He stressed that the anxiety of manufacturers was heightened with the apparent lack of consultation and inclusion of inputs of key stakeholders before Nigeria’s position was presented at the meetings of the African Union-Technical Working Group on CFTA in the build-up to AfCFTA negotiation by Nigeria.
“We were, therefore, worried that specific attention was not given to the cost and benefit analysis of the agreement; the sectors/sub-sectors that would benefit or be worse off and strategy that government should adopt to enhance the capacity of the manufacturing sector to compete effectively.” MAN, in a letter to the federal government expressed the dissatisfaction of the organised private sector, manufacturers in particular, to the decision of government to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement without due consultation with key stakeholders, and consideration for the peculiarities and the possible impact of the Agreement on the manufacturing sector and the economy in general.
While MAN expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his decision to cancel his trip to Kigali, Rwanda to sign AFCFTA, it recommended that as a matter of urgency, government must convene a special meeting of the relevant stakeholders, including experts on trade policy.
“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; Consider tariff lines rates along the line of efficiency, sectoral and sub-sectoral preferences that would be most beneficial to Nigerian businesses under the AfCFTA dispensation.
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