Why Nigeria opted out of EPA –Aganga

Daily Trust - - BUSINESSS - From Kay­ode Ekun­dayo, La­gos

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.

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