The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has again warned Nigeria against signing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to save Nigeria from being a dumping ground for foreign goods.
The President, Mr Mansur Ahmed, restated the position of the association at the 2019 Edition of the MAN Annual Media Luncheon for Commerce and Industry Correspondents in Lagos.
Ahmed urged the government to withhold its assent to the agreement pending the completion of the ongoing assessment to determine its likely impact on the manufacturing sector and the economy at large.
AfCFTA is a free trade area being outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement by 49 out of the 55 nations in African.
If the agreement is ratified, the free-trade area will be the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
The agreement was brokered by the African Union (AU) and was signed on March 21, 2018 by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda.
Nigeria is yet to sign the agreement.
Ahmed said: “The position of the association is that government should not sign the framework agreement until wide reaching sensitisation and proper assessment are conducted on its impact on the economy and the manufacturing sector.
“Our advocacy on AfCFTA is yielding desired results and as you are aware, Nigeria is yet to sign the framework agreement.
“MAN is a functional member of this committee that is billed to submit its report to the President in early February.
“In addition, MAN, being a proactive organisation that strongly believes in evidence-based advocacy commissioned a sector-specific study on AfCFTA.
“We have shared the study, full report and fact sheets on the highlights of findings with the Presidential Committee on AfCFTA.
“We are confident that the eventual position of Nigeria on the AfCFTA Framework Agreement would be well articulated in a fresh National Negotiation Mandate that is in the best interest of the manufacturing sector and indeed the Nigerian economy.
“The position would pay utmost attention to emerging issues on AfCFTA and ensure that the industrial aspiration of the country is not compromised on the platter of free trade.”
The MAN chief commended the efforts of the media and solicited greater support to project the position of the association on issues that impacted on the industry and the economy at large.
“I commend your efforts of supporting MAN through quality reportage over the years.
“I have no doubt that you will extend to me the support and collaboration you gave to my predecessors.
“I understand that this platform has helped to deepen the interaction between MAN and journalists on the industry and business desks of Print, Electronic and Online Media organizations in Nigeria.
“It is noteworthy that through your efforts, MAN recorded over 300 media exposures in 2018,” he said.
He said that the association would continue to sustain its “MAN Reporter of the Year Award”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were given to five journalists at the occasion.
They are Temple Asaju of Channels Television, who emerged winner in the Electronic category, Odinaka Anudu of BusinessDay and Benjamin Ameh of Ameh News were winners in the Newspaper and Online categories.
Akeem Salau of Vanguard Newspaper won in the Photojournalist category.