Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has given the federal government certain conditions before it could sign the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA).
Addressing journalists on Wednesday in Lagos, the President of MAN, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the government must address the challenge of infrastructural deficits, market access of 10 per cent and enforcement of rules of origin, among others.
According to him, it is pertinent to mention that MAN is 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.
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 said.
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;
” Review all the positions of Nigeria presented by NOTN to the AU-TWG-CFTA so far, especially the position on the framework agreement establishing the AfCFTA, protocols on trade in goods and services as well as justifications for the proposed progressive tariff rationalisation;
“Obtain and consider ECOWAS position on AfCFTA and mandate NOTN to share the memo on AfCFTA negotiations sent to the presidency with strategic stakeholders”, it said.