MAN worries over NOTN attitudes on AfCFTA agreement …Seeks proper negotiation before ratification
MAN worries over NOTN attitudes on AfCFTA agreement
…Seeks proper negotiation before ratification
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has expressed dissatisfaction with the outcomes of the Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiations’ (NOTN) in just concluded nationwide stakeholders’ engagements on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
The association in its observation said, the NOTN version of the outcomes of the stakeholders’ engagements and sensitization as reported in the media does not adequately reflect the overall proceedings and factual expressions at the meetings held across the country.
Speaking with journalist in Lagos, MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the association is worried that the outcomes could be misleading and may not put Nigeria in good stead and could inexorably put the nation in a disadvantaged position if or when the implementation of the AfCFTA commences.
According to Jacobs, “we are now even more worried that, in spite of the widespread concerns that necessitated Mr. President’s reservation of his signature at the summit in Kigali, the subsequent activities of the NOTN was not tailored towards addressing those concerns. Rather than squarely addressing those critical issues, all efforts were geared towards extolling the laudable objectives of the AfCFTA, its potential benefits and what Nigeria is expected to benefit from its implementation.”
The manufacturers urged government to provide details of how concerns bordering on the tariff lines and product lines (categorised using HS codes) that have been agreed for liberalisation, as well as the exclusion and sensitive lists, implementation of market access without negotiating the rules of origin and other safeguard measures, would be addressed once the AfCFTA is ratified.
Jacobs noted that the draft of the consultations, held with the private sector, remains shrouded in secrecy as no technical paper was presented for validation by the affected stakeholders before presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and ratification of the trade agreement.
He believed that, AfCFTA is a good project that will benefit Nigeria if properly negotiated; as it would expand Market Access for export of Nigerian products and improve the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector.
“The starting point of an effective AfCTFA negotiation is the recommended studies, robust consultations and proper representation of manufacturing and the private sectors at all national and continental AfCFTA negotiation meetings. This we believe would equip members of the Nigerian negotiating team with requisite data for the negotiations ahead”, he said.