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Can provisions on trade remedies, dumping save Nigeria after signing AfCFTA?

Whereas Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator & Director General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe had acknowledged the concerns raised by several trade unions and stakeholders on the dangers of dumping, pundits have started raising questions on handling the market risks factor on Nigeria.

Observers say even though there exits provisions on trade remedies and dumping on the basis of which a party can apply for certain duties for products sold below market price from a producer or importer into Nigeria, there are strong fears that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) may outsmart the enforcement of the provisions in the long run.

Already, the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has called on the Federal Government to study the documents very well before signing to avoid ratifying Nigerian economy into slavery.

Otherwise, the raging apathy towards the treaty was spurred by fear of dumping from other African countries where manufacturing environment is salutary in the first instance ahead of what obtains here in Nigeria.

NACCIMA had repeatedly observed that only about six per cent of the excluded products have been identified out of the ten per cent provided under the treaty’s safeguard measures.

Noting that Nigeria cannot afford to isolate itself from the 1.2 billion common market, expected to be created under the treaty, National President, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, at a press briefing in Lagos, advised the federal government to get feedbacks from major industrial stakeholders before signing AfCFTA.

According to her, “in order to take full advantage of the AfCFTA, government needs to intensify current efforts to eradicate non-tariff and regulatory barriers to international trade such as border delays, burdensome customs and inspection procedures, as well as ensure that multiple licensing and taxes are eliminated”.

Iyalode Lawson argued that “A situation where it is easier to import than to export will defeat the purpose of signing the AfCFTA in the long run for Nigeria”.

NACCIMA also observed that whereas the immediate impact of the AfCFTA could be the loss of revenue from import duties and taxes which may impede the Federal Government’s current agenda to invest heavily in infrastructure and affect other spending activity, it noted that “the government should step up its efforts with policies that will ensure that Nigerian products and services are market ready for the African continent in the shortest possible time before going ahead to sign”.

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