Why Nigeria opted out of EPA –Aganga
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said Nigeria did not sign the trade liberalisation agreement pushed by the European Union under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with ECOWAS because of the high level premium placed on the economy by the Federal Government.
The minister spoke during a working lunch in honour of the Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organsation, Mr. Li Yong.
Aganga, whose ministry played a major role in the EPA negotiations, said certain provisions of the agreement, which Nigeria was expected to sign at the ECOWAS Heads of States meeting in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire, last week, were not in the overall best interest of the nation’s economy.
Under the EPA, the European Union will immediately offer the
15-member ECOWAS and 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 got wrapped up last month with the European Union offering a 6.5 billion euro (about $8.94 billion) package over the next five years to help ECOWAS cushion the effects and costs of integrating into the global economy.
ECOWAS comprised Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Niger and Togo.