IndustriALL Global has advocated for appropriate trade policy if the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTFA) must be a success.
Vice President, IndustriALL Global Union
Issa Aremu, in his address at the commemoration of 2019 Africa Industrialization Day (AID) last week in Calabar, Cross Rivers State said though AFCTFA is to create a single market for goods and services, but warned that it has to be for the benefit of the trading countries, African economies and their workers.
“An appropriately trade policy is one of the principal drivers of prosperous and inclusive societies with decent economic, social, and ecological development. Conversely inappropriate, trade policy could deepen under development, poverty and violence,” he said.
Emphasising on the theme of this year’s
AID, “Positioning African Industry to Supply the AfCFTA Market”, Aremu said
what Africa needs is fair trade as unfair trade practices with Nigeria in particular, have undermined domestic production.
He reasoned that smuggling and dumping have also assumed security dimensions as some border countries facilitated illegal importation of all goods including arms which in turn arm criminals and insurgents.
“How do we explain the revelation that since the land borders were closed, Nigerian government has seized over N2.3 trillion worth of contraband, almost a quarter of 2019 budget?,” he queried.
He advised that the land border closure must continue as long as they bring about economic gains and ensure fair trade which is what African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) envisage. Aremu said World Bank, reported that “Benin’s economy is heavily reliant on the informal re-export and transit trade with Nigeria, which accounts for about 20 per cent of its GDP, or national income. According to him, about 80 per cent of imports into Benin are destined for Nigeria, the bank had stated.”
He added, “Nigeria for instance since 2013 imposed a tax of 70 per cent on foreign rice through its ports, with a view of boosting local production, create jobs for local farmers and raise non-oil revenue.
“Unfortunately rice smugglers in Benin have been dumping duty free rice into Nigeria market with adverse implications for local productive initiatives. Same with textile materials. The mass closures of textile mills in Nigeria with attendant loss of millions of direct and indirect jobs are due to officially promoted unfair trade practices by Benin Republic authorities in particular.”
He stated that there cannot be trade, fair trade without production of goods and services.
He noted that IndustriALL Global Union is an active campaigner for industrialization and manufacturing, adding that manufacturing is important for sustainable jobs and living wages.
He said, “For example, in Ethiopia’s light manufacturing strategy, industrial parks like Hawassa will employ 60 000 workers when fully operational. President Buhari envisions 100 million jobs in ten years!! The implementation of the new Cotton, Textile and Garment policy (CTG) alone would create as many of 2. 5 million jobs.