The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has opposed the planned admission of Morocco into the Economic Community of West African States.
The association warned the Federal Government against supporting the plan at its 45th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos on Thursday, stating that it would have a disastrous effect on the nation’s manufacturers.
The President, MAN, Mr. Frank Jacobs, said the admission of Morocco into ECOWAS would be equivalent to signing the Economic Partnership Agreement through the back door.
He stated, “We, therefore, urge the Federal Government to vehemently oppose the move as it will spell doom for the productive sector of the economy.
“We are aware that Morocco and the European Union have trade agreements, which means if they become part of ECOWAS, products that come into Morocco from the EU will end up in Nigeria; after all, Nigeria is the biggest market among all these countries in the ECOWAS, so we are vehemently oppose to Morocco being admitted into ECOWAS; it will really affect us badly, so we are telling our government not to allow it become part of ECOWAS because it will badly affect the productive sector of our economy.
“Come to think of it, why should it be part of ECOWAS? It is too far, ECOWAS is Economic States of West African States; Morocco is not part of West Africa and it shouldn’t be part of ECOWAS.”
While lauding the Federal Government for the introduction of some policies, which he noted had stimulated the economy, MAN president appealed that there were still three key challenges that had to be adequately addressed for the nation’s productive sector to boom.
The challenges, according to him are inadequate and unstable power, non-availability of foreign exchange for the importation of essential manufacturing inputs, and unrestrained high interest rates.
Jacobs said with the prevailing double-digit interest rates, the Nigerian economy would continue to suffer decline, adding, “Therefore, we recommend, as the association had done in the past and always, a single-digit interest rate.”
On Morocco joining the ECOWAS, the Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria had recently called on the Federal Government to resist any attempt by other member countries of ECOWAS to admit Morocco into the regional body.
Noting that Morocco, by reason of its geographical location, did not qualify to be admitted into the regional organisation, the association, through its founding Chairman and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka, warned that Morocco’s motive was political and aimed at whittling down the strength of Nigeria for her role in the admission of Western Sahara into the then Organisation of African Unity.
The association wondered why the Federal Government had so far not engaged in a vigorous campaign against Morocco’s move, stressing that the government owed Nigerians an explanation.
Another group, the Nigerian Movement for the Liberation of Western Sahara, also opposed the admission of Morocco into ECOWAS. The group said the 15-nation body had little in common with the North African kingdom, especially as it maintained a grip on Western Sahara.
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