Manufactures advise government on trade agreement with EU

MAN house

MAN advises Nigeria on Economic Partnership Agreement.

Amidst efforts to address Nigeria’s trading challenges, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has advised that ongoing negotiations of an Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, between West African States, ECOWAS, and the European Union, EU, be suspended and amended for efficient impact on the nation’s economy.

Nigeria, through the ECOWAS Commission could not conclude the EPA negotiation at the expiration of the deadline of December 31, 2007 due to an array of contentious and divergent issues between the two trading regions.

The manufacturer’s association held a seminar on Tuesday with other trading and commerce stakeholders and organisations, to address the lingering issue.

The implication of Nigeria’s inability to conclude the agreement or sign an interim one, is that products from the country can only enter the EU market under the GSP tax system; while Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the two other countries in West Africa that concluded Interim Agreement with the EU, now enjoy quotation and duty-free exports to the European Market.

The manufacturers association is of the opinion that the EPA, to effectively and efficiently benefit Nigeria, should be repositioned to address the constraints.

Nigeria is Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest exporter to the rest of the world, reports from Renaissance Capital say. Almost 30 per cent of the exports outside the region originate in Nigeria, and two other countries.

Nigeria, South Africa and Angola dominate extra-regional exports, accounting for 70 per cent of the total, implying that Sub Saharan-Africa’s exposure to a global downturn through trade is concentrated in these three countries.

Nigeria, which makes up two-thirds of Western Africa’s economy, is a major exporter to the US. In 2011, the nation shipped 30 per cent of its exports (97 per cent of which comprised oil) to the US – up from 10 per cent in 1960, a reflection of a huge dependence on oil.

The National President of NACCIMA, Ademola Ajayi, said Nigeria has to gear up to the challenges posed by the current global crisis and strive to achieve its non-oil sector growth and development objective under the Nigeria Vision 20-2020, bearing in mind that the international environment may not offer the expected result all the time.

“Promoting the non-oil sector will bring about reduction on the nation’s level of dependence on the dominance of crude oil or what can be described as mono-cultural foreign trade product, that averagely rake in over 80 per cent foreign earnings,” he said.