Why MAN rejected African continental free trade agreement – President

By Matthew Denis

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has explained why it has not append the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement.

 The AfCFTA is a trade agreement between 44 African Union member states with the goal of creating a single market through free movement and a single currency.

However nine other African Union member countries, including Nigeria and South Africa have refused assent to the treaty.

Speaking during the 4th Annual General Meeting of Kwara/Kogi branch of MAN held on Thursday in Ilorin, the President of the association, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs said the agreement would slow down development in the Nigerian manufacturing sector.

“The associations have been working tirelessly to improve the manufacturing sector of Nigeria. This we do by positively engaging heads of government, its agencies and parastatals on policies that have the potentials to impact the real sector,” he said.

The president who was represented by the Director General of the association, Mr. Segun Ajayi Nadir added, “Most recently, our intervention resulted in the non-signing   of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement by Nigeria.

“AfCFTA if signed at this stage of our infrastructural development when as manufacturers we generate our own water, power our own machines and make payment of electricity bills based on estimation, pay exorbitant price for raw materials, could decelerate the performance of the manufacturing sector,” the president noted.

He stated that MAN is out rightly against the agreement, adding that the initial but contention was that there was inadequate consultation with relevant stakeholders in the country.

” We are also concerned that we don’t know the market offer proportion of Nigeria, neither are we assured of the efficacy of the rule of original provisions that will govern the operations of the AfCFTA.

In his remarks at the event, the MAN branch Chairman, Alhaji Kamorudeen Yusuf noted that some policies in Kogi  and Kwara states  are threatening the survival of the industries thereby limiting the realisation of their full potentials in national and state industrial development.

He said:” Some of these policies include complex bureaucracies in the grant of lands for establishment of industries, undue long delays in obtaining Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) from government, heavy and excruciating state taxes and sundry levies.

” Inadequate state loan facilities for industrialists, high interest rates on the insufficient loans and the difficult foreign exchange procedures. Others includes bad and dilapidated infrastructures, moribund industrial aids, relief’s and concessions, poor and impassable roads as well as inadequate power supply.”

Yusuf who is also the Chairman of Kam Industries, however, acknowledged the effort of the government in ensuring that members of the association form the board member of some state related agencies like Kwara Internal Revenue Service, Kwara state Environmental Protection Agency among others.

In his lecture at the AGM, Dr. Aderemi Medupin stressed that the government at all tiers should focus on providing infrastructural development for economic robust.

Speaking on the theme: Rebuilding the post-recession Nigeria Economy: Government’s industrial initiatives as panacea to poverty, he added,  “We cannot fight poverty by alleviating its symptoms but attacking the factors of poverty because there is no excuse for poverty in a wealthy society like Nigeria.

“Poverty and inequality in Nigeria are not due to a lack of resources but the ill-use, misapplication and misappropriation of resources in the country,” he submitted.

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