Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Adeniyi Adebayo on Tuesday described his ministry’s ongoing trade policy review of Nigeria as one of the legacies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Speaking while receiving a draft copy of the revised trade policy in Abuja, the Minister noted that since the promulgation of the effective trade policy in 2002, “Nigeria and the world have witnessed major developments”.
Some of these developments include the explosion of e-commerce and digital payments, the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit).
He added that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was only in its second year, saying development needed a policy review.
He said, “Earlier this year, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that Nigeria recorded a trade surplus of N3.2 trillion between January and June 2022. This is an indicator of a positive trade balance. where exports outweigh imports. In fact, the World Bank reports that trade contributes around 34% of Nigeria’s GDP.
“While these numbers are very encouraging, there is a lot we can do, especially with the start of trading under the AfCFTA.
“In order to capitalize on this potential $3.4 trillion market, the first step is to instill merchant confidence through the approval and implementation of an up-to-date trade policy.”
The minister who claimed to have gone through the draft as presented by the Trade Policy Review Committee of Nigeria (TPNRC), said he was satisfied with the document.
However, he said that it was necessary to specify the measures to be taken to prevent and limit accidents at work.
He added: “I believe that security is an important complementary policy for trade. We cannot have optimal commerce without security.
“International actors wishing to trade with Nigeria will need reassurance of fairness. Therefore, we should address the non-discriminatory aspects of this policy.
“Finally, there is a need to focus on trade facilitation, particularly with regard to customs, airports, seaports and transit.”
He called on the committee to incorporate his suggestions as part of the stakeholder engagements leading to the finalization of this policy.
TPNRC Chairman Prof. Mike Kwanashie said the trade policy review had been carried out in line with global practices, pointing out that since the document was put in place in 2002, the economy had undergone many changes requiring a revision of the document.