Nigeria’s possibility of ratifying the free trade agreement of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) before the end of the 180 days deadline set by African Union (AU) member-countries may suffer another setback as local manufacturers have dissociated themselves from the outcome of the consultations being presented for Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval.
With Nigeria’s Chief Negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe and technical drafting group set up by the Federal Government expected to submit the outcome of the consultations for presidential approval this week, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said the issues raised by major stakeholders, including those expressed by manufacturers, still remained unattended to.
The manufacturers are, therefore, asking government to provide details of how concerns bordering on the tariff lines and product lines (categorised using HS codes) that have been agreed for liberalisation, as well as the exclusion and sensitive lists, implementation of market access without negotiating the rules of origin and other safeguard measures, would be addressed once the AfCFTA is ratified.
President Muhammadu Buhari had declared that his administration was not disposed to entering into any agreement that would make the country a dumping ground and jeopardise its security architecture following concerns expressed by MAN and other private sector players.
Specifically, MAN noted that the draft of the consultations, held with the private sector, remains shrouded in secrecy as no technical paper was presented for validation by the affected stakeholders before presentation to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and ratification of the trade agreement.
The presidential committee on AfCFTA had last week met to discuss findings from the consultations held with stakeholders across the country’s six geo-political zones, with a draft report expected to be presented this week.