FG seeks review of economic partnership agreements
IMAGE: Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, The Minister of State for Finance, »
The Federal Government is pushing for a review of the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union by members of the African Union to adequately protest local manufacturers.
The Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, stated this in his presentation as the guest lecturer at the 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
A statement by the ministry on Sunday said that the government would only adopt economic measures that could promote the growth of the Nigerian economy in line with the Vision 2020 objective.
Under the EPA, the European Union will immediately offer the 15-member Economic Community of West African States and a non-member state, Mauritania, full access to its markets.
In return, ECOWAS will gradually open up 75 per cent of its markets, with its 300 million consumers, to Europe over a 20-year period.
Technical negotiations were wrapped up last month with the European Union which offered a €6.5bn (about $8.94bn) package over the next five years to help ECOWAS to cushion the effects and costs of integrating into the global economy.
ECOWAS countries expected to participate in the agreement are Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Niger and Togo.
MAN had continued to oppose the EPA, arguing that it did not offer the required protection instruments in its current state.
But stating the government’s position, Yuguda said, “The government is actively encouraging the African Union and ECOWAS to reconsider endorsing the EPA in its current state.
“The government is critically assessing options that will improve competitiveness and ensure that local manufacturers are adequately protected.”
The minister also said the Federal Government was negotiating a strong Common External Tariff agreement with its ECOWAS partners to protect strategic industries.
This, he added, would help to ensure that optimal tariff lines were reflected in the deviation instrument.
On the Export Expansion Grant, which is an incentive introduced to encourage the export of Nigerian products, Yuguda said that the measure was being reviewed to make it more efficient.
He said that MAN would be carried along in the review exercise, adding that the aim was to “ensure that the grant returns economic value that is equal to the large amounts being conceded to exporters in the scheme.”
Article Credit: Punchng