Friday, May 24Inside Business Africa

MAN insists on negotiation mandates, others for AfCFTA implementation

Preparatory to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in July, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has insisted that key technical concerns should be addressed with a strong commitment on the government’s part to enhance competitiveness.

Such concerns include the crafting of robust national negotiation mandates, the Rules of Origin, phased liberalisation, the developing and less developed countries dichotomy, and the schedule of specific tariff items in the basket for Trade in Goods.

According to MAN, while the implementation of the agreement is expected to drive the growth of the real sector, certain protectionist measures need to be deployed.

The local producers equally noted that the private sector must be united and strategically position itself to ensure that other laws that would enhance gainful participation, are enacted.There should also be an advocate for the resolution of challenges like trade malpractices, insecurity, xenophobia, poor trade facilitation infrastructure, inability to translate the ease of doing business initiative into a reduction in the cost of doing business.

Others are porous border, trade corridor impediments and readiness to engage and support the leadership of the National Assembly with necessary information that can facilitate beneficial regional and continental parliamentary engagements.

At workshop training with sectoral leaders held in MAN House, Lagos themed; Zonal AfcfTA Sensitisation Workshop, MAN President Mansur Ahmed, said it was as a result of Nigeria being unable to access some of these benefits that the workshop was organised.

Mansur, represented by National Treasurer, MAN, Isaac Ade Agoye, said there was a need to sensitise the manufacturers about the operating environment, competitiveness, adjustment of costs for beneficial economic trade, which would be mirrored largely by the AfcfTA agreement.

He noted that MAN had engaged in negotiation, policy formulation, and strategic plan on the AfcfTA trade agreement by studying the numerous limitations with the advisory committee at the regional and national levels on the expectation and outcomes of its advocacy roadmap.

While highlighting the effects of the trade agreement, Mansur advised manufacturers to restructure business models to meet local and international global preferences and standards with the global value chain, stressing that trade liberalisation and the ease of doing business will leverage the free market access to increase trade volume.

He argued that the productive capacity of the nation would shrink, and in turn, inflict injuries on investment plans, economy and the manufacturing sector in the country. “AfcfTA has come to stay, we must participate and we must be very conscious.”
Also commenting, Director, Economics and Statistics, Oluwasegun Osidipe, noted that the AfcfTA portends huge opportunities in Nigeria if properly harnessed.

He said there would be a single Continental market throughout Africa, and there would be one single custom book for all African countries. The trade volume of Africa is 13 per cent. When AfcfTA commences there would be a single Continental body.

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