President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed why Nigeria has not agreed to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. According to the President, Nigeria does not have the capacity to supervise other Africa countries to prevent dumping of goods which may eventually affect infant industries.
The President disclosed this on Wednesday while receiving the National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) led by its president, Engr Mansur Ahmed, at the State House, Abuja.
“I don’t think Nigeria has the capacity to effectively supervise and to ensure that our colleagues in AU don’t allow their countries to be used to dump goods on us to the detriment of our young industries and our capacity to utilise foreign exchange for imported goods”
President @MBuhari today received a delegation of the National Council of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), led by the President of the Association, Engr Mansur Ahmed, at the Council Chambers State House Abuja. #AsoVillaToday pic.twitter.com/SBXHtocTBy
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) June 19, 2019
A bid to stop AfCFTA: Nairametrics had earlier reported that MAN urged the President not to sign the trade pact. According to its President, Mansur Ahmed, the measure would save Nigeria from being used as a dumping ground for foreign goods.
“The position of the association is that the government should not sign the framework agreement until wide-reaching sensitization and proper assessment is conducted on its impact on the economy and the manufacturing sector.
“MAN, being a proactive organisation that strongly believes in evidence-based advocacy commissioned a sector-specific study on AfCFTA. We have shared the study, full report and fact sheets on the highlights of findings with the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA.”
Assessing the impact of AfCFTA: Meanwhile, in a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President disclosed that he is ready to receive the report of a Committee set up to assess the potential costs and impact of signing the agreement establishing the AfCFTA for Nigeria.
Recall that in order to evaluate the extent to which Nigeria was ready to join the AfCFTA pact and what the impacts of doing so would be, the Presidential Steering Committee on the AfCFTA Impact and Readiness Assessment Committee was inaugurated on October 22, 2018.
Some Drawbacks were however witnessed, as President Buhari further disclosed that the Presidential committee’s failure to meet up with an initial 12 weeks given to conclude its assignment slowed down the process. He further disclosed that the AfCFTA is on the agenda for the upcoming AU Summit in Niamey, Niger Republic, in July.
The bottom line: The visit by MAN to the president is apparently connected to the association’s agitation against the signing of the trade agreement which it believes could kill local industries. In the light of this, the President has promised to look into the presentation by MAN highlighting issues of concern to the manufacturing sector, namely the AfCFTA, Export Expansion Grant and other incentives, challenges with the 2019 fiscal policy measures, recent increase in NAFDAC charges, the Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) (Amendment) Act, 2019, among others.
“I assure you that I know the enormity of our problems in terms of population growth rate and teeming young people. We need to move very fast, and the government will try and encourage you as very much as possible so that the problem of unemployment and the provision of other services relative to our population and state of development can be tolerated.”