The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called on the Federal Government to ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) citing that apathy towards the treaty was spurred by fear of dumping from other African countries.
According to NACCIMA, only six per cent of the excluded products have been identified out of the ten per cent provided under the treaty’s safeguard measures.
Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator & Director General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe had acknowledged the concerns raised saying though the market risks increase, the country has a provision on trade remedies or dumping, on the basis of which a party can apply for certain duties for products sold below market price from a producer or importer into Nigeria.
Noting that Nigeria cannot afford to isolate itself from the 1.2 billion common market, expected to be created under the treaty, National President, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, at a press briefing in Lagos, yesterday, said NACCIMA’s position is that our dear country should sign the AfCFTA.
“We as a nation have been closely and long involved with the vision of an African Free Trade Area right from the establishment of the OAU.
Nigeria must be part of the AFCTA for numerous reasons which include the fact that it is a platform for our SMEs to be integrated into the regional economy and a means of acceleration of women’s trade and economic empowerment,” she said.
She however stated that the association counsels that in order to take full advantage of the AfCFTA, government needs to intensify current efforts to eradicate non-tariff and regulatory barriers to international trade such as border delays, burdensome customs and inspection procedures, as well as ensure that multiple licensing and taxes are eliminated, saying that a situation where it is easier to import than to export will defeat the purpose of signing the AfCFTA.
The Association also notes that the immediate impact of the AfCFTA could be the loss of revenue from import duties and taxes which may impede the Federal Government’s current agenda to invest heavily in infrastructure and affect other spending activity, advising that the government should step up its efforts with policies that will ensure that Nigerian products and services are market ready for the African continent in the shortest possible time.
“While we continue to address the issues around the AfCFTA, and work on a strategy for implementation to tackle the problems, we should sign the Agreement now and set up an all-embracing implementation Committee in readiness for when it will finally take off,” she said
Chairman, NACCIMA Standing Committee on AfCFTA, Jani Ibrahim said Nigeria has no other continent than the Africa continent and therefore it cannot be a stand aside in the face of the transformations that are sweeping across the continent.
“It must not only cash in and ensure most things if not everything are in her favour.
Nigeria’s endorsement of the agreement must however take on all the concerns of the stakeholders’ seriously and attend to them, swiftly”, he added.
Source: G Business