The federal government will soon review her trade policies this year in order to revamp the nation’s economy with a focus on creating an enabling business environment and improve confidence in the economy.
The government has also started identifying the countries with which it will negotiate Free Trade Areas (FTAs) in 2017. According to reports, Nigeria has not reviewed her trade policies since 2002.
“In June this year, the World Trade Organisation will hold Nigeria’s fifth trade policy review. We are working hard at ensure its success because it improves confidence in the Nigerian economy, Trade adviser to minister of Industry, Trade and Investment and Chief negotiator, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe said yesterday in a media chart in Abuja, adding that the minister, Dr Enelamah Okechukwu and his top management are moving aggressively on the implementation of the government’s initiative on an enabling business environment.
“The government is pursuing the use of trade policy and negotiation to correct imbalances,” Ambassador said in Abuja yesterday, disclosing that Nigeria has some agreements at bilateral level and otherwise that have been negotiated which the government considers need to be re-negotiated to achieve greater fairness, welfare benefits for Nigeria in a rapidly changing global economy.
He said: “The ministry is trying to reframe, reset and restructure our trade policy. The second aspect of it is to modernise our economy using the tool of structural transformation to rejig the economy so that it’s balanced and when there are shocks in the present and the future, our economy will be able to absorb any shock.”
Asked why the federal government is going for such option the minister’s advisor said, “Our domestic industrialist, manufacturers have been complaining and petitioning to government at every levels that they need better protection from rootless pre-data, foreign competitors that are dumping in this economy.”
He stated that the ministry is also using the trade policy to develop World Trade Organisation’s consistent safeguards to protect the Nigerian economy in a non-protectionist way.
“Nigeria is a big market, but no market is ever big enough. It is about expanding Nigeria’s market for our domestic producers of products that are good for export. There is a Nigerian domestic market to talk about. There is a wider market for which Nigeria is pushing.
‘‘We have our Adenugas, Dangotes. We have products to sell. We have Nollywood. We have providers of services, Nigerian entertainment services are being exported; its revenue for this country; its jobs for this country. Trade is about employment and revenue,” Osakwe noted while addressing Journalists at the headquarters of the ministry on Wednesday.