Covenant Uni Professor Says AfCFTA Will Protect ECOWAS Member States From Being Dumping Sites

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Prof. Jonathan Aremu, a Consultant with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will protect member states from being dumping ground for substandard goods.

Aremu made the assertion at the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA)/Deloitte AfCFTA Dialogue series on Tuesday in Lagos.

He said: “Recognising that dumping, subsidisation and import surges, whether originating from the continent or a third country, can adversely affect more than one member/or partner state within the continent`. “There are provisions in the AfCFTA treaty to ensure member/or partner states to cooperate in the detection and investigation of dumping or subsidisation or sudden import surges, and in the imposition of appropriate measures to curb such practices.”

Aremu, who is a Professor of International Economic Relations, Covenant University, one of the leading private universities in Nigeria, said that the beneficiaries of the AfCFTA were investors and traders who move goods across borders. He said that the opportunities remain potential until a rule-based governance and structure were established across member states.

Aremu said that to utilise the opportunities of AfCFTA, member states were expected to develop a strategy that identifies key trade opportunities, current constraints and steps to leverage the African market.

Also, Mr Francis Anatogu, Secretary, Presidential Committee on Impact and Readiness Assessment on AfCFTA, said that findings from AfCFTA impact assessment on Nigeria’s economy show that 35 priority products had been identified across its development plans. Anatogu said: “18 of the 35 products are exported by Nigeria and have a demand of 122.7 billion dollars in Africa.

“Nigeria exports 42.9 billion dollars of these products globally, excluding crude oil and gas; the export value decreases to 1.2 billion dollars.” He said 10 sectors have been chosen as a priority sector for liberalisation, adding that the sectors aligned with the five priority sector of the AfCFTA. The committee secretary said that there were 36 sub-sectors under the 10 priority sectors, adding eight sub-sectors were fully liberalised, 27 partially liberalised and one sub-sector was unbound.

According to him, Nigeria is the fifth largest exporter of services amounting to five billion dollars and the largest importer of services 18.2 billion dollars in Africa. Anatogu said that Nigeria’s service sector was only able to address four per cent of Africa’s 121 billion dollars market.

He said that the private sector’s role in AfCFTA implementation was to leverage AfCFTA to drive value, increase advocacy and stakeholders engagements to galvanise the business environment. According to him, others are: grow research and intelligence capabilities and strong partnerships with the government. Earlier, Amb. Ayoola Olukanni, the Director-General, NACCIMA, said that the dialogue session was to sensitise and address the uncertainty of stakeholders in the private sector on how AfCFTA would impact on lives and the economy.

Olukanni said that AfCFTA was a potential economic game-changer for Nigeria, adding that the private sector needs to reposition itself to benefit from it. Reports have it that AfCFTA is a trade deal designed to drop barriers to intra-African trade.

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