The Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to review Nigeria’s trade policy.
Members of the committee were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Others are the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and representatives of academia, according to a statement.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo said the ceremony marked a significant trajectory on how Nigeria uses international trade and investment as veritable tools for economic growth and poverty reduction.
Adebayo stated that the major objectives of Nigeria’s Trade Policy were first articulated in a document in 1989 under the defunct Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) but later revised in 2002. Since then, it has not been reviewed or revised.
“So, today, we have begun a new phase in the ongoing efforts by the Ministry to review and update the National Trade Policy of Nigeria 2002, to ensure that the new trade policy framework reflects the very dramatic changes that have taken place in the global trade and economic policy landscape, especially the 2008/2009 global financial and economic crises, as well as the current health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the minister said.
According to him, all the developments have greatly affected the way we produce and trade, including the evolution of global production networks and global value chains and it is, therefore, the firm commitment of the Ministry that Nigeria has strategically responded to these global trends, to promote and sustain its trade performance.
“It is also the Ministry’s expectation that the updated Trade Policy of Nigeria document will effectively capture the nine core policy priorities of the recently launched Medium-Term National Development Plan 2021-2025,” Adebayo stressed.
The Minister listed the priorities to include building a thriving and sustainable economy; enlarging agricultural output for food security; attaining energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; and expanding transport and other infrastructure development.
He said others are expanded business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation; improved access to quality education, affordable health care and productivity; enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; building systems to fight corruption, improve governance and create national cohesion; and improve security for all.
“Under these circumstances, it is important for us to ensure that the new Trade Policy of Nigeria is not only consistent with international best practices to enhance productivity and competitiveness, but also fully takes into account the realities of the national economy in the 21st Century,” he emphasised.
Adebayo noted that all national trade policy frameworks need to explicitly address all aspects of development, including sustainable development, holistically by providing opportunities for creating wealth through income generation and distribution, increased employment and competitiveness, as well as economic and social well being.
“This is more so as trade has been central to ending global poverty; and continues to contribute to the economic growth and development of all economies, big or small,” he said.