President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dr Frank Udemba, has again restated its association’s reservations on the impact of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on Nigeria’s economy,
Udemba made the disclosure in his address at the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu branches, which held in Awka, Anambra state last Friday.
AfCFTA is a trade agreement proposal of the African Union with the objective to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of businesses, persons and investments.
It will pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union and expand intra-African trade through better harmonisation, coordination of trade liberalization, facilitation and instruments across Africa.
Udemba commended President Mohammed Buhari for not signing the agreement yet, adding that there was a need for wider consultations among stakeholders to critically analyse and weigh the possible impacts.
He added that MAN and the Organised Private Sector were not against the agreement but contended that the National Office for Trade Negotiation (NOTN) did not hold consultation with relevant stakeholders.
According to him, “as a concept and in principle, MAN is not against the AfCFTA, our original contention was that NOTN did not undertake adequate consultation with relevant stakeholders.
“Although that is being done now, we still have the big issue of absence of a country-specific study to determine the possible impacts, benefits and downsides of AfCFTA on the Nigerian economy and manufacturing sector in particular.
“MAN shall continue to engage the NOTN and the Federal Government with a view to ensuring that concerns of manufacturers are addressed and we are adequately represented at the negotiations that determine whether or not Nigeria signs-on,’’ he said.