By Adewale Sanyaolu
VICE President Yemi Osibnajo and the Chairman of the United Nations High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, Dr. Thabo Mbeki, have faulted the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) by some African countries.
The duo spoke at the Annual General Meeting(AGM) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN) held in Lagos yesterday.
Mbeki, however, commended Nigeria for its hard stance on the trade agreement, noting that Nigeria does not need EPA now until it has been adequately industrialised and is able to trade industrial goods competitively.
Mbeki noted that the EPA will only confine the Nigerian economy to a mere market expansion of the European Union since it cannot operate with Europe on all grounds.
On trade agreements, Osinbajo explained that, though there are tendencies for governments to be careless about their provisions, the Buhari administration will not accede to agreements that will open fledging industrial firms to risks.
He added that the present administration is reviewing measures to aid the ease of doing business in the country through legislations and implementation of business friendly policies.
The former South African president urged the Federal Government to industrialise, focusing on manufacturing ,by adopting sustainable development goals to check growing economic imbalance as well as to check the potent threat of illicit fund flows, arising from trade mispricing, to the survival of the continent.
On the EPA, Mbeki said: “The Europeans dangle immediate benefits to a country that is, probably, in need. Despondent, the country shortsightedly signs the EPA, allowing Europe to achieve its single-minded objective of leaving a weaker, more disadvantaged and more exploited continent in its wake. Something of this sort started at a Berlin Conference in the 19th Century. But today, Brussels must not set Africa back in time.
“The conclusion from all this is very clear. It is that Africa, together with rest of the ACP, has a difficult struggle ahead – the struggle to ensure that the global economy is restructured in a manner which fully recognises and seeks to correct what the Libreville Declaration identified as “inequities of the international economic order and the continued absence of a level playing field”.
MAN President, Dr. Frank Jacobs, however, urged the Federal Government to address challenges hindering the growth of the productive sector if the real sector’s contribution to the GDP would improve beyond its present level.
Source : SunOnline