As you are already aware, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement on July 7, 2019 at the African Union (AU) Extra Ordinary Meeting held in Niamey, Niger Republic
Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) recall that Association had earlier cautioned against signing the agreement without first adequately consulting the relevant stakeholders and carrying out a country specific study to assess the potential impact of the agreement on the manufacturing sector in particular and the Nigerian economy in general.
In a statement released and endorsed by the Director General stating the MAN’s position on Nigeria’ signing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) saying the issue of the country’s porous border which encouraged smuggling of foreign goods, there could not have been a better time to adopt technology-based border policing and surveillance to check abuse of the intra-Africa Trade protocols and trade malpractices.
“For an open trade arrangement of this nature, we recommend that Industries that would be negatively impacted by the influx of goods should be supported to invest in new areas and displaced labour retrained to take on new employments or vocation.”
President further said, “There should be commitment of all parties to comply with the rules of origin and operate in a fair manner to get us the Africa we want”. There were also several conditions that the steering committee advised should accompany Nigeria’s consent, which I believe had been taken on board. To secure the necessary safeguards required to ensure that our domestic policies and programs are not compromised, I wish to recall that the committee recommended the introduction of explicit rules on import quota restrictions; adoption of a common Market Access Offer for Trade in Goods and Trade in Services for ECOWAS, including synchronized Sensitive and Exclusive Lists; adoption of the common Market Access Offer for Trade in Goods to replace and supersede the 2013 ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), which created vulnerabilities for Nigerian industry and manufacturing; and adoption of appropriate continental customs cooperation and other mechanisms to tackle predatory trade.
“As the country commits to this, in addition to the President’s call for fair trade, we believe that the Government will back her words with action by putting the necessary measures in place to prevent an abuse of agreement.
MAN DG pointed out that when President received the report of Presidential Steering Committee, he said in unmistakable terms that the Agreement should carry with it a manufacturing agenda for the continent and quite importantly, that the goods to be traded should be made-in-Africa products.
“Overall, we should all work towards having a beneficial trade engagement in Africa. Effectively mitigating the risks and taking advantage of the opportunities of a 1.2 Billion market and $2.5 trillion GDP.
“Going forward, MAN is joining Government and other private sector groups to critically analyze the continental market and strategically capacitate our domestic economic actors to benefit maximally from the AfCFTA.
However, the DG said on the side of the private sector, we need to optimize our processes and innovate to outperform our contemporaries in the other countries of Africa.
The Captioned Photo: The Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir