Kano biz community jittery over EU-W/Africa pact
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries which Nigeria is suppose to be one of the signatories has raised serious concern among members of the Kano business community.
EPA is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) designed to create free trade area between the EU and ACP countries in which duties on goods imported and exported between the parties would b e reduced and eventually removed.
The European Union and West Africa concluded in February 2014 the negotiations for an economic partnership agreement, bringing about 16 countries of the region under the agreement. 13 out of the 16 states had signed the agreement. Nigeria, The Gambia and Mauritania were yet to sign the agreement.
The process, structure and contents of the EPA negotiations have raised concerns about impact of the EPA on ACP countries, including Nigeria.
Expressing this concern, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said that greater attention ought to be paid to ensure that Nigeria did not sign what would eventually kill its already weak economy.
Making its stand known in Kano, through its national vice president Alhaji Ali safiyanu Madugu, the association said that Nigeria had very limited capability to produce and export industrial goods.
Most of the industries in the country were undeveloped and plagued by lack of supportive infrastructure.
The EU, on the other hand, was the ACP’s largest trading partner, with nearly 40% of all ACP exports going to the EU.
EPAs negotiations and outcome normally affect 39 of the world’s 50 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the lives of over 720m people living in the ACP region.