Endorsement of EU-EPA will Cost Nigeria $1.3tn, MAN Warns

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Crusoe Osagie

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has warned that Nigeria stands to loose over $1.3 trillion if it signs the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU).

The manufacturers’ umbrella body noted that the nation would be at the loosing end due its limited capacity to produce and export industrial goods to Europe and other parts of the world.

The association in a statement to strongly oppose the EU EPA, said the implications of signing the agreement would have negative impacts on industrial development of Nigeria.

“Nigeria will incur significant revenue loss through removal of tariff estimated at about US$1.3 trillion. The agreement will have implications for Nigeria and other trading partners such as the US and China especially in the context of Most Favoured Nation (MFN),” MAN said.

The association also quoted President Muhammadu Buhari, pointing out in one of his comments that given due consideration to the mismatch of the two regions (Europe-ECOWAS) in terms of technology and manufacturing experience, accepting the EPA in its present form would spell doom on Nigeria’s industrialisation programme, adding that studies have revealed that the effect of EPA on Nigeria would be largely negative.

“It should be borne in mind that Nigeria is in recession and needs every effort to pull through. Nigeria is mainly a commodity-goods producing country and would trade same in an EPA free trade arrangement. Nigeria has limited capability to produce and export industrial goods to Europe.”

According to MAN, EPA will stifle existing manufacturing industries as they will be uncompetitive because cheaper finished products from European countries would flood Nigerian markets, maintaining that this would de-industrialise Nigeria and on the long run and could have catastrophic implications on employment generation and poverty alleviation in the country.

“ In fact, companies which have already started investing in production of raw-materials and intermediate products would be forced to close down. Consequently, Nigeria will perpetually continue to be exporters of unprocessed raw-materials and importers of processed goods. Nigeria would then become an extension of EU market. This would equally undermine the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP),” MAN added.

The statement said current efforts by Nigerian manufacturers to export non-oil manufactured products would be greatly hampered, adding that the recent surge in the export of non-oil manufactured products which has grown tremendously would be drastically affected.

MAN stated that signing the EPA would negatively affect the informal sector, saying that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are currently sustaining a large percentage of our population would be worst hit.

“The truth is, our economy is currently challenged. The situation should not be compounded by government appending its signature or domesticating EPA. Rather, concerted efforts from all stakeholders should be garnered to overcome our current economic challenges. Government should continue to adopt home grown policies and strategies that have the capacity to offer required economic fillip and achieve desired results. MAN assures President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR that the Association as always, is open for further engagement and detailed presentation on the views expressed in this press release,” he added.