The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has made an appeal to the Federal Government not to endorse the ECOWAS- EU Economic Partnership Trade Agreement in its present form as both parties are not at par developmentally, and also argues that succumbing to EU’S pressure for its endorsement would amount to economic slavery and doom for the country’s industrialization efforts.
The President of the Association, Frank Udemba Jacobs made this appeal on Monday during a courtesy visit by the Association on the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
‘’ The position of MAN on the ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) IS that Nigeria should not endorse the Trade Agreement in its present form as both parties are not at par developmentally. Succumbing to EU’S pressure for its endorsement would amount to economic slavery and doom for the country’s industrialization efforts because the modest achievements recorded so far would be wiped away. We request your support on this issue. Nigeria’s position should be given top- most consideration on entering in to any International Trade Agreement’’ he added.
Mr. Frank Udemba urged the Federal Government to sustain the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) as this according to him, will assist in boosting the nation’s infrastructure base, as well as call for the Rail Master Plan to be continued with, in view of the importance of the rail system in haulage of bulk goods and movement of personnel in order to ease congestion at the country’s sea ports, particularly the Lagos ports.
He also called for closer cooperation and interaction with the Ministry on Major policy formulation and implementation particularly with regard to those that relate to the development of the manufacturing sector in particular and the real sector in general.
According to Mr. Frank Udemba, the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP had shown some improvement before the recent slump in forex revenue but believe that, with the right policies in place, the sector would bounce back, especially with focus on diversification of the economy.
He said that: ‘’ In our efforts to diversify the economy, non- oil exports should be the focus. However, experience of exporters whose EEG/NDCC claims have not been processed for years is not encouraging. The EEG review should be speedily concluded’’.
Responding to the demands of MAN, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Fatimah Nana Mede assured the Association that any issue that will not be of advantage to Nigeria will not be endorsed.
She stated that government is determined and committed to boosting infrastructure in Nigeria citing the case of the budget which allocated 433 billion to infrastrature sector to buttress her claim of government‘s commitment to boosting infrastructure.
She described the NIIMP as a vital document for the development of infrastructure in the country and also stated that the Ministry is working closely with MDAs on ways to package the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements and capacity building.