Nigeria Manufacturers Support ‘Deserting’ African Trade Agreement

…The Nigerian Manufacturers Association urged the Nigerian Federal Government Not to Sign the AfCFTA agreement in Kigali


By TZ Business News Staff and Agencies.


The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 strongly supported refusal by the Federal Government of Nigeria to sign the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Manufacturers Association frowned at the contents of the agreement, arguing  that it will lead to gross unemployment in the country as most manufacturing companies in the country will be made to die a quicker death, a MAN press release distributed by Africa Press Organization (APO) has said.

Forty-four African countries have signed the agreement establishing a Pan African free trade area seen as vital to the continent’s economic development, head of the African Union President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said Wednesday.

Uganda was the fifth East African country to sign the agreement, with Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Rwanda already on the list.  The agreement will nonetheless still have to be ratified  by individual countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari  of Nigeria pulled out of  the AfCFTA launch in Rwanda saying he needed more time for consultations at home.

“Some countries have reservations and have not finalised their national consultations, The Uganda Monitor newspaper has quoted Albert Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, as saying. “But we shall have another summit in Mauritania in July where we expect countries with reservations to also sign.”

Dr. Frank Jacobs, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) President,  said his association would not support Federal Government’s adoption and ratification of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) until issues of market access and enforcement of rules of origin are addressed.

According to MAN, the agitation from the private sector was a result of 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.

The AfCTA is expected to create a trade bloc of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. The agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90% of goods and to liberalize services.

Addressing journalists on Tuesday, March 20, 2018,  Association of Manufacturers President, Dr. Frank Jacobs explained that the issues of market access that allows only 10 percent of products to be protected as well as government’s enforcement mechanism in the area of enforcement of rules of origin need to be clearly defined before local producers can support the agreement.

Noting that MAN is not oblivious of the benefits inherent in installing a continental trade agreement like AfCFTA that could improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development, Jacobs said that Nigeria’s national interest should however be the primary consideration in the decision to sign-on to such an arrangement.

In his recommendations, Jacobs urged the government to 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.

“Government should, as matter of urgency, convene a special meeting of the relevant stakeholders, including experts on trade policy to 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 as well as reconsider the national position on EPA vis-a-vis the AfCFTA especially on tariff lines of products on the sensitive/exclusion list, with a view to ensuring that the EU-EPA is not reintroduced through the AfCFTA’s back door.

“Review presentations and prepare a detailed submission for the Government on ways and means of participating in the AfCFTA in a manner that our national interest and that of the budding manufacturing sector are effectively protected”, he added.