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Nigeria's Parliament cautions against EU EPA
Jan '16
Nigeria's House of Representatives has cautioned the Federal Government on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), saying it may weaken the country's economy and the textile sector in particular, according to media reports.

The House said the recent push by EU to further expand the frontiers of its economic relations with Nigeria through the implementation of EPA is being resisted by real sector operators of the country's economy.

The lawmakers during a debate on the motion titled: “Call for caution in the implementation of the EPA between EU and Nigeria,” expressed regrets over the collapse of the textile industry due to unhealthy competition by foreign companies and smuggling of textile products through the borders.

Following the adoption of the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the motion to the joint committee on commerce and industry in view of the fact that the lawmakers did not have the opportunity of seeing it and report back within four weeks.

In his lead debate, Segun Adekola called for the intervention of the House to thoroughly examine the terms and conditions of the proposed EPA with EU.

While expressing reservation on the recent push by the EU to expand its economic relations with Nigeria through the implementation of the EPA, the lawmaker noted that the policy had been resisted by various operators and stakeholders.

Adekola explained that based on the terms of agreement, the EU would offer 15 members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) full access to its market and in return, members of ECOWAS would open up 75 per cent of their markets with over 300 million consumers to Europe over a 20-year period.

“Nigeria has a weak manufacturing base because of infrastructural deficit and environmental factors, and thus is not on the same economic pedestal with any European countries to warrant such a reciprocal trade as envisaged in the trade agreement.

“The agreement would lead to stunting of the growth of industries in West Africa, with serious economic and employment consequences for Nigeria which controls 60 per cent share of the regional market,” he said.

On his part, Mojeed Alabi argued that Nigeria would be at disadvantage while the EU nations would take advantage of its vast population.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mitchel Arrion has questioned Nigeria's decision not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) long after the initiative was formally launched in February 2014, after over 10 years of negotiations.

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