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AFCFTA: MAN harps on measures to check import surge

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AfCFTA, President Muhammadu Buhari;
File: President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Assembly of the Union on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while other officials witnessed the signing during the 12th Extra ordinary session and the First Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union at the Palais des Congres, Niamey, Niger Republic. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 07/07/2019

By Naomi Uzor

THE Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has called for measures to checkmate upsurge of imported goods into the country due to the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).

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Making this call at the 10th Business Luncheon of Apapa branch of MAN, tagged, “Repositioning the Nigerian Manufacturing Sector to cope with Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFT)”,  the Chairman, MAN, Apapa branch, Engr. Frank Onyebu said such measures are imperative following research evidence of high probability of an upsurge in imports as the Nigeria complies with the terms of AFCFTA.

He noted that a recent research carried out by Centre for Trade and Development Initiative of University of Ibadan states that ‘a three-phase liberalisation tariff rates from 5 per cent, 10 per cent and 20 per cent to zero will likely generate a higher surge of imported manufactured goods to the tune of 159.5 per cent,  183 per cent and 251.4 per cent on the average’ during a 15-year period.

“The report goes on to say that Nigeria, being one of the least in terms of import penetration from African countries, makes the country an export target for many African countries under AfCFTA.”

According to the report, import is expected to surge in all the manufacturing sectoral groups and by extension the 77 sub sectors in the third phase of the liberalization. I daresay this is really frightening and a food for thought for Nigerian manufacturers going forward” he said.

Onyebu who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Apapa branch, Apostle Raphael Damilola said:  “We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that things are not all rosy for the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, especially as the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement approaches. Adequate structures, therefore, must be put in place if manufacturing in Nigeria is to survive. First of all, the infrastructural challenges should be tackled aggressively. The roads, especially roads to the industrial areas, must be fixed without further delay. Power supply to industries should also be tackled to ensure competitiveness/survival of local industries.

“The menace of trailers and other articulated vehicles must be given the urgent attention it deserves. The government should find a way of clearing access roads to the ports as well as the industrial areas. The government should also work with manufacturers and other stakeholders to improve the ease of doing business.”

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He added: “The government should also enforce fair trade practices by other African countries, particularly our neighbours. Our security operatives (Customs, Immigration and other security agencies) need to wake up to their responsibilities in checking sharp practices at our borders. It is also important that relevant agencies should work to improve the efficiency of our port operations.”

Vanguard  

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