L-R: Alhaji Dr Abdullahi bashir, executive council member;Dr Frank Jacob, president;Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, director-general, and Dr Ifeanyi Okoye, executive council member, all of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), during a press conference on African Continental Free Trade Area by MAN in Lagos, today.
Dr Frank Udemba Jacobs, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on behalf of the National Council and members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, commend President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for his decision to cancel his trip to Kigali, Rwanda for the signing of the Framework Agreement for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at the Extra Ordinary Meeting of the African Union Heads of States and Government scheduled for March 21, 2018.
Dr Jacobs at a special press conference on The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Held on March 21, 2018, Ikeja Lagos said most gratifying is the fact that the President heeded the call of key stakeholders, especially manufacturers in Nigeria, for a circumspective re-consideration of the decision to immediately sign-on to the AfCFTA. The President took the right decision to allow time for adequate consultations among relevant stakeholders before the country endorses the continental trade agreement, he noted.
He stated that the announcement that the AfCFTA would be signed during an Extraordinary Meeting of African Heads of State and Government in Kigali Rwanda; MAN vide a letter to the Federal Government expressed the dissatisfaction of the Organized 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. We opined that the absence of substantive consultation with stakeholders depicts a blatant and fundamental departure from the practice in the past regarding trade negotiations, and most importantly, the requirements by the AU that the Private Sector in the various States be actively involved in the negotiation process.
The MAN President pointed out that “What would be the impact of AfCFTA on the nation’s tax structure, Government revenue and the welfare of over 180million Nigerians?
“What will be the impact of AfCFTA on the political-economic, industrialization and development framework of Nigeria?
“What would be the fiscal and monetary implications of AfCFTA on Nigeria?
“What are the justifications for agreeing to the proposed movement of 90% of tariff lines to 0% duty?
“What would become of non-tariff charges, incentives, waivers and exemptions currently operational in Nigeria?
“What will be the fiscal implications of AfCFTA on the income of Governments and Regional Economic Communities?
“How will non-tariff charges viz-a-viz non-African countries be treated under the AfCFTA regime?
“What is the agreed time frame for the gradual but progressive movement of 90% of tariff line to 0% duty?
“Which product lines have been agreed for liberalization, to be on exclusion and sensitive lists?
Therefore, MAN urges Government should, as matter of urgency, convene a special meeting of the relevant stakeholders, including experts on trade policy 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;
“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;
“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 among others.
“The MAN President, National Council and entire members, once again express the immense gratitude of manufacturers in Nigeria to Mr. President for his timely action which has culminated in the cancellation of his trip to Rwanda. This reflects a clear demonstration of his commitment to the growth of the manufacturing sector; the preservation of the Service Sector, improvement of the wellbeing of the citizenry and the advancement of the Nigerian economy.”