Opinions are disconnected as to the accordance or contrarily of the proposed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and European Union (EU) Bread-and-er Affiliation Acceding (EPA) with Nigeria as industry stakeholders accept aloft the anxiety that the accomplishing of the EPA will accept abrogating bouncing furnishings on the nation’s brittle economy. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf in this address examines the issues
Nigeria’s socioeconomic absorption in the medium, abbreviate to continued appellation could be beneath astringent blackmail if the affirmation fabricated by some anxious individuals is annihilation to go by.
Specifically, the Manufacturers Affiliation of Nigeria (MAN) has bidding agitation over the plan by the federal government to access into Bread-and-er Affiliation Acceding (EPA) with the Bread-and-er Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and European Union (EU).
According to MAN, the move is a apparatus to accomplish Nigeria a auctioning arena for accomplished articles from the EU.
In a account active by the Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir and fabricated accessible to The Nation, the anatomy argued that the EPA agreement, if active by the federal government would advance to de-industrialisation of the Nigerian economy.
In the account which reads in part, the MAN said, “The Acceding would advance to de-industrialisation as it is structured to absolute the advance of accomplishment in West Africa, decidedly in Nigeria. The affiliation of this is that our abridgement will abide a provider of raw abstracts and importer of accomplished products.”
What EPA is all about
The Bread-and-er Affiliation Agreements amid the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and regions aim at announcement ACP-EU barter – and ultimately contribute, through barter and investment, to acceptable development and abjection reduction.
Trade with ACP countries represents added than 5% of EU imports and exports. The EU is a above trading accomplice for ACP countries.
The EU is the basic destination for agronomical and adapted appurtenances from ACP ally – but t (e.g. oil) still anatomy a ample allotment of ACP-EU trade. The EPAs intend to abutment barter about-face by alive ACP countries’ assurance on t to higher-value articles and services.
The EPA acceding action amid West Africa and the European Union started in February 2014 and is currently in analysis by the administering of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But MAN is assertive that the acceding is thoroughly checked, if it is to be anytime considered.
“Nigeria’s apropos with account to EPA Bazaar Access should be addressed afore the country could endorse the Acceding aloof as it was done afore the abandonment of the ECOWAS CET. This is to ensure that Nigeria is not acclimated as a auctioning arena for accomplished articles from the European Union.”
The affiliation had beforehand beatific a admonishing arresting to the present government advertence why the EPA, in its present anatomy should ‘not be signed.’
“Taking into application the abrogating after-effects the EPA would accept on bounded accomplishment in accurate and the abridgement in general, abnormally in the areas of job creation, accident of advance and acquirement to government.
“Bearing in apperception that with ambit to admeasurement West African States are not at the aforementioned akin of bread-and-er development with any European country, so the barter advantage can be agee to the advantage of the EU.”
MAN holds the appearance and actual acerb too that “given the absoluteness of today’s apple and the accepted stagflation in the economy, our nation can ill-afford to await on exporting raw t such as awkward oil, accustomed gas, solid minerals and chapped agronomical products. We charge to breach this amphitheater and adjure advised efforts to industrialise our economy, which is constant with government action on convalescent affluence of accomplishing business.”
In defence of EPA
Notwithstanding the delight of criticisms adjoin the EPA, there are bodies who feel acerb that the acceding is in Nigeria’s best interest.
In a account by Michel Arrion, EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, he offered what he advised important clarifications about the Bread-and-er Affiliation Acceding and EU barter policy.
While responding to insinuations in some abode that Nigeria’s non-oil exports face ban in Europe if Nigeria does not assurance the EPA, the agent said such was added from the truth.
In the account which reads in part, he recalled that: “When, in June 2015, the EU adopted a acting ban on imports of broiled beans from Nigeria, due the again interceptions at the EU bound of broiled beans’ consignments absolute aerial residuals of a pesticide alarming for animal health, several Nigerian media declared that the ban activated to all Nigerian non-oil exports to the EU (not alone to broiled beans), and some alike claimed that this was an attack to put burden on Nigeria on the EPA. Again, this advice was grossly wrong.”
Pressed further, he said: “Another archetype of ambiguous advice generally heard in affiliation to the EPA is that, if the EPA enters into force, the Nigerian bazaar would be abounding by bargain European products. This book cannot action for several reasons. First, European articles are not “cheap”: alike if they were alien to Nigeria assignment free, European articles would still be added big-ticket than several articles produced locally or alien from Asia. Second, the EPA has been adjourned in a way to abate any accident of a accessible abrogating appulse for West Africa. Indeed, the basic cold of the EPA is to support, not to undermine, the bread-and-er development and industrialisation of West Africa. To accomplish abiding that such cold can be finer achieved, the EPA gives added obligations to the EU than to West Africa, and added rights in favour of West Africa than the EU.”
The EPA, he stressed, “Requires the EU to absolutely aish tariffs and quotas on imports of any acceptable from West Africa, West Africa is accustomed to accumulate tariffs up to 35% on several appurtenances alien from Europe, decidedly on appurtenances acceptance to the alleged acute sectors, such as agriculture, aliment and beverages. The EPA provides this aegis in favour of West Africa for an absolute aeon of time. West Africa is appropriate to gradually aish acceptation duties alone on basic appurtenances (machinery, added parts, components, or inputs such fertilisers, agrochemicals), which are appurtenances that in assumption do not attempt with locally produced goods, but which are bare by calm producers and would become cheaper for them as a aftereffect of the EPA.”
Besides, he said, the timing of the bazaar aperture provided by the EPA is additionally in favour of West Africa. While the EPA requires the EU to anon aish duties on all imports from West Africa, West Africa’s bazaar aperture will be bit-by-bit and slow, starting afterwards bristles years of its access into force (a capricious aeon which applies alone in favour of West Africa) and gradually demography abode for added 15 years (overall a aeon of 20 years).”
He added acclaimed that the EU has already committed 6.5 billion euro in development cooperation projects affiliated to trade, industry, activity and carriage basement for Nigeria and West Africa for the aboriginal bristles years of accomplishing of the EPA. Similar funds will be committed throughout the accomplished EPA accomplishing process.
A auspicious perspective
On the fears that the accomplishing of the EPA ability accomplish Nigeria a auctioning arena for adopted goods, Prof. Jonathan Aremu, a acclaimed economist and assistant of International Bread-and-er Relations at the Covenant University while alms a rather abstract position of the hotly debated affair said, there is charge to accept a accurate of the situation.
“The base for the EPA needs to be accepted actual well,” he said.
Going bottomward anamnesis lane, Aremu, who retired as agent Director, Research and Planning at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recalled that afore the Apple Barter Organisation (WTO) was set up in January 1995, appurtenances advancing from Nigeria as able-bodied as African Pacific countries entered Europe at a best acceptation duty.
“Most of them entered with chargeless acceptation assignment and it a country like Nigeria to advertise added into European countries than added countries that are not above colonies of the European Union. But with the advancing of the WTO, that violates the assumption of no appropriate nation analysis which says that all associates of the WTO should be advised equally. And that’s why the WTO had to acquaint the EU as able-bodied as the African Caribbean countries, fabricated up of about 77 countries in all to assurance an acceding for themselves to absolutely absolve why they should advance that best treatment. In added words, they charge be able to accept an Bread-and-er Integration Acceding that will acquiesce them to be able to use Article 24 of the Accepted Acceding on Barter and Tariff (GATT).”
Expatiating, Aremu who is President/Chairman of Board of the Chartered Institute of Financial and Advance Analysts, Nigeria, (CIFIAN), added empiric that, “The When you go into Bread-and-er Integration Agreement, which is acceptable by Article 24 of GATT, again you can absolutely action yourself some sorts of best analysis and that is the base for the EU accepting to accept a chargeless barter breadth with the African Caribbean Pacific countries, including ECOWAS, which is one of the sixth groups.”
He common that the accomplished abstraction of the EPA was a by the actuality that the antecedent Lome 4 acceding can no best continue.
Rather than to politicise the issue, the university don believes that the amount can be bound with diplomacy.
“The negotiations accept been on for so long. The Nigerian government knows what they absolutely appetite but the affair is that what they appetite has to be what is acceptable aural the all-around setting. I can’t allocution for ECOWAS or Nigeria but what is important is that if the country says it wants to absolutely see how to be able to accomplish its own ambiance bigger afore entering into any agreement, l anticipate that all what they charge to do is to table all the things that they want. The affair is that the base for the EPA is aloof because of the actuality that the best adjustment which was activity on up to the end Lome 4 can no best continue.”
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