There are indications that Nigeria’s volume of trade in terms of total imports coming from African countries in the last 10 years was only 5.6 per cent, a survey emanating from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has revealed.
Particularly, the MAN report explained that the country’s trade integration within Africa was so small compared to bilateral trade with other countries, thus signifying that the recent passage of African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) needs policy framework to achieve the proposed trillion dollars continental trade revenue.
Precisely, the MAN report, which was cited by this newspaper, indicated that Nigeria had the least import penetration in the continent from African countries, averaging about 20 per cent within the period analysed in the study.
Consequently, this obviously makes the country an export target for many African countries in the trade agreement.
The MAN report showed that Nigeria is ascendingly trailed by South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroun and Egypt in the same level, recording about 30 per cent import penetration.
Also in the report, MAN explained that the leading supplying African market of Nigeria’s import of manufacturing goods was South Africa, accounting for 34.7 per cent of Nigeria’s import from African countries in 2017, while five out of 15, leading African supplying markets including South Africa, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Swaziland and Egypt account for 79.3 per cent of Nigeria’s import from Africa in 2017.
A breakdown of the continent’s trade showed that South Africa (37 per cent), Togo (19.6 per cent), while Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, Benin and Niger Republic import from Nigeria are at least above one per cent.
Therefore, the AfCFTA agreement is expected to provide Nigeria ample opportunity to look towards these other African countries in the region for increasing and diversification of its non oil exports.
In addition, the report revealed that Nigeria is likely to face severe product competition in countries like Angola, Senegal, Morocco, Mozambique, Egypt and Guinea, especially in products like toilet or facial tissue, parts suitable for use solely or principally with spark-ignition internal combustion piston, sanitary towels, plates sheets, film, foil and surface-active preparation among others.
Also, it is likely to face less competition in Niger, Benin and Ghana across products like electric energy, sweet, fresh or dried potatoes, bars or rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, cold-formed or cold-finished & further worked, casks, drums, cans, boxes & similar containers, oils & oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude and water tube boilers with a steam production exceeding 45t per hour.
This is because Nigeria manufactured products represent the major market in the latter countries and insignificant market in the former.
The AfCFTA agreement is expected to provide Nigeria ample opportunity to look towards these products and countries with less competition, especially from other third party countries.
However, the MAN survey explained that there was need to call for the revision of the 90:10.
It stated that in view of the high cost of manufacturing operating environment prevalent in Nigeria (well over and above the continental average), AfCFTA would have overwhelming negative impact on the manufacturing sector, even though in differing magnitude.
AfCFTA would also have enormous negative effect on employment, investment and manufacturing output arising from heavy import surge.