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EU/ECOWAS agreement harmful to Nigeria economy

25 April 2014, 10:58

Abuja - The National Technical Committee on the European Union/ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiation has said Nigeria might lose its fiscal revenue by endorsing the agreement.

The Vice-Chairman of the committee, Prof. Ademola Oyejide, made this known at the opening of the committee’s meeting in Abuja.

Oyejide said that the meeting was geared toward re-examining the consequences and advantages of endorsing the agreement and deciding whether to go into direct agreement with the EU or not.

While giving an overview of the agreement, he said, West African countries would have an exclusion list of 25 percent of their total imports from the EU.

According to him, those products will not be subjected to liberalisation.

He said that ECOWAS countries were free to impose import duties on the imports under the 25 percent, while the remaining 75 percent would be subject to liberalisation.

He, however, identified loss of Nigeria’s fiscal revenue as part of the 10 reasons the nation was opposing the agreement.

The vice-chairman listed other reasons as not offering enough protection in the Nigeria perspective to ensure continuous existence of its industries.

He said that the agreement did not address the issue of reimbursement of the fiscal loss estimated to be about $1.3 trillion.

Oyejide said that the negotiation of the agreement, which started 12 years ago, was concluded in January, adding that every ECOWAS country had been given October 1 to append its signature in acceptance of the agreement.

Oyejide explained that one of the consequences of not entering into the agreement was inability to have common external tariff with other ECOWAS countries.

He, however, explained that inability to operate common external tariffs could encourage a lot of smuggling within ECOWAS countries.

"If we stay outside that agreement Nigeria’s access to ECOWAS market as well as the access of our colleagues in ECOWAS countries to Nigeria market will be lost,’’ he said.

-    NAN

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