Expert warns Nigeria on dangers of rejecting EPA …. “It’ll create 500,000 direct jobs”
An industrialist and ex-chairman of Adhama Textiles & Garments Industry Ltd, Alhaji Saidu Dattijo Adhama, has urged Nigeria not to reject the European Union (EU)’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), saying, the package would create a minimum of 500,000 direct jobs, with direct income of N2,000 on daily basis for youth, if signed.
Dattijo Adhama told journalists in an interview at the instance of the “EU-Kaduna Trade and Investment Seminar,” which held in Kaduna, that the Agreement, rejected by Nigeria, should be given a chance for further discussion on its signing as the jobs creation would reduce incidents of crises and crimes in the country.
He said “Many other African countries have signed the Agreement,” and he was in the Kaduna seminar to canvass for the signing of the Agreement.
“So, I’m here struggling to see that the Agreement is signed. Some people go against it. We, from the Textiles Cotton and Garment (TCG) Sub-sector of the economy, feel that there is need to appeal to people to give a chance to further discussion on the signing of this Agreement.
“That’s to say let’s look at it secteriary, because it’s a wide Agreement covering various sectors. So, why are we going to have issues from perhaps only one sector out of so many sectors?” Adhama said.
He said the EPA is a very important development in the live of Nigeria as a country, and would be in their favour if the Agreement is signed, despite some challenges. “We, in the Textiles Cotton and Garment, feel that it’s going to be in our favour to sign this Agreement, even though there’re difficulties; but soon, this package will create a lot of job opportunities for many people.
“From my understanding, I always said a minimum of 500,000 will get direct jobs, with direct income of N2,000 daily. This is important development if we are to go with it on the issue of unemployment,” he noted.
According to the Textile expert, both states and local governments would benefit immensely from the package in terms of revenue, aside the peaceful atmosphere being anticipated.
“It will enable Local Governments and States to get some revenue. It’ll create rooms for having a peaceful atmosphere of all people. We need peace, and with poverty we will never get peace, and without job opportunities for people, there will definitely be poverty; poverty breeds crises, creates trouble and crimes.”
While urging Nigerians to understand rather than be afraid, Adhama said “Why not we look at this package, see if there is anything that you do not feel so comfortable with, and let them bring up their issues – ‘We do not accept this because it’s against our interest of a,b,c,d,’ ” he stressed.
However, in a brief insight on EPA by EU Ambassador, Michel Arrion, he told the participants that the European Union and ECOWAS had concluded the negotiations of the partnership in 2014.
Arrion further said that the Agreement became necessary when existing trading relationships between EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) became WTO-incompatible. The EU Ambassador also said that the EPA has so far been signed by all EU member countries/states, and all West African states except Nigeria, Gambia and Mauritania.
He stated that EU main interest in West Africa, of which EPA is of the instruments, is to ensure peace, prosperity and security of the region, saying both bodies are now facing common threats of terrorism and illegal migration that need urgent attention to address the root cause – which is poverty – through job creation, using EPA for equitable trade and integrating Nigeria fully into the world economy.