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OPINION

Why Nigeria Should Rescind Her ACFTA Membership

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With the recent signing of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (ACFTA) deal by Nigeria, expectations were high on the convergent benefits from it, given the larger market of over 1.2 billion people as well as the prospects of infrastructural development.

However, with the recent development where Ghana was chosen to head quarter the free trade zone and the signing of deals by Japanese car makers with Ghana, some analysts in Nigeria are calling on the government to take another look at the deal.

According to them, Nigeria should pull out of the ACFTA deal because it makes no sense that we advocated for it and the deal will certainly provide the most enticing market, yet Ghana is positioning itself to reap the benefits straight out. As far as the experts are concerned, that is another finger waiting to poke our eyes few years down the line and we will be crying xenophobia after we empower them to our detriment.

With the siting of the ACFTA free-trade zone in Ghana, major global companies in the car industry are already signing deals with that country to set up manufacturing plants. Soon the giants at Silicon Valley will follow. The implication is this; that country’s physical and mental structures will be drastically improved upon, jobs will be created, income level would increase astronomically, revenues to the government would increase through taxation and then those items would then be transported to Nigeria freely awaiting a people happy to buy anything trending whether or not local manufacturers are burdened by the poor patronage that the circle translates to. Needless to say, that we lose on all sides.

Soon, when Ghana becomes another South Africa or Dubai, we would then begin to wonder how it happened forgetting that it is happening now!

We should pull out of the ACFTA deal now and see if those Japanese car manufacturing companies eagerly negotiating with Ghana will not pull to a screeching halt. Without Nigeria ACFTA is essentially empty! Let’s assert our strength economically like Britain and America did with the EU and NAFTA respectively.

 

Osilama Okuofo, a development economist and management consultant writes from Lagos.

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