The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo on Tuesday described the ongoing review of Nigeria’s Trade Policy by his ministry as one of the legacies of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Speaking while receiving a draft copy of the revised Trade Policy in Abuja, the Minister noted that since the extant trade policy was promulgated in 2002, “both Nigeria and the world have witnessed major developments such as; the explosion of E-commerce and digital payments, the agreement establishing the African continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit).”
He added that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was just in its second year sayingt the development necessitated a review of the policy.
“Earlier this year, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported that Nigeria recorded a N3.2 trillion trade surplus between January and June 2022. This is an indicator of positive trade balance where exports outweigh imports. In fact, the World Bank reports that trade contributes about 34% of Nigeria’s GDP.
“While these figures are very encouraging, there is a lot we can do especially with the commencement of trading under the AfCFTA. In order to take advantage of this potential $3.4 trillion market, the first step is to instill confidence in traders through the approval and implementation of an up-to-date trade policy,” he said.
The Minister who claimed to have gone through the draft as presented by the Trade Policy of Nigeria Review committee (TPNRC), expressed satisfaction with the document.
He, however made the following observations for the consideration of the committee:
⦁ There is a need to specify measures to be taken to avoid and curtail trade injuries.
⦁ I believe security is an important complementing policy for trade. We cannot have optimal trade without security.
⦁ International players who are interested in trading with Nigeria will need reassurance of fairness. Therefore, we should address non-discriminatory aspects of this policy.
⦁ Finally, there is a need to highlight trade facilitation especially with respect to customs, airports, sea ports, and transit.
He called on the committee to incorporate his suggestions as part of the stakeholder engagements leading to the finalization of this Policy.
Chairman of TPNRC, Professor Mike Kwanashie said the review of the trade policy was carried out in accordance with global practices, stressing that since the document was put in place in 2002, the economy has witnessed a lot of changes necessitating a review of the document.