The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Tuesday describe as laudable the federal government decision not to endorse the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement pact between West Africa and the European Union.
The Economic Community of West Africa State, ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) and the EPA Market Access seeks to open the West Africa markets to its European counterparts, a decision MAN said is inimical to the industrial growth of the region.
The summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at their meeting in Accra, Ghana on July 10, 2014 approved the EPA and instructed the regional Chief Negotiators to take steps to start the process of signing and implement the agreement.
MAN Director General, Mr. Remi Ogunmefun said studies carried out indicates approving the pact could also undermine regional economic integration and lead to loss of investments and revenue to government and jobs.
“ MAN wishes to caution that implementing the ECOWAS CET and the EPA Market Access to the EU in their current form will negate the industrialisation programme of the government, especially the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIPR”, the DG said in a statement.
According to him, the agreement will have serious economic and employment consequences for Nigeria because of her 60 percent share of the regional market and Gross Domestic Product peg at 77 percent.
MAN opposition, Ogunmefun said “ is premised on the fact that from all parameters, West Africa states, including Nigeria are not at the same level of economic development with any European country to warrant the conclusion of a reciprocal trade relationship espoused in the trade agreement with EU.
MAN is therefore advising that notwithstanding the status of EPA and ECOWAS Common External Tariff, Nigeria should continue to insist on the incorporation of the 196 tariff lines in the country earlier recommended for reclassification in the CET regime in addition to the urgent need to design appropriate instruments that will take care of the 241 tariff lines that currently enjoy various levels of levies as protective measures in Nigeria”.
While reiterating its support and cooperation, the body said Nigeria concerns in respect of the CET and EPA Market Access must be addressed before the country endorse the agreements.