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Nigeria lacks feasible trade policy – Experts



DESPITE every posturing to the contrary, Nigeria lacks definite trade policy that is free from contradictions.

President of National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), Mr. Ken Ukaoha, dropped this indictment yesterday in Abuja while lamenting failure of successive governments to evolve structured trade policy that is workable and fit for national goals, urging Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo to come out with a trade policy that will create brighter future for the sector.

“It is a shame that up till this moment, since 2002, when the country had its last trade policy; we are yet to have one. A lot of people have been asking. We have been engaged in a number of trade negotiations, here and there, what then are we negotiating this trade with, upon what domestic policy are we negotiating,” Ukaoha said.

Stressing that World Trade Organisation (WTO)’s rules provided that every developing country such as Nigeria would have to renew its trade policy every five years, Ukoha said there had always been policy reviews but what often came up as Nigeria’s trade policy was outdated.

He therefore urged the minister to look into the subject of a Common External Tariff (CET) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) related trade policies, adding that experimentation period for Nigeria would expire this year and by 2020, Nigeria should begin full-fledged implementation of thepolicy.

“So that we will know what we are going to export and at what level we will export, to reduce our food imports while we are also using that to industrialise the country.

Nigeria has been outside the gate in terms of negotiations, but courtesy of the President’s signature, which made us the 53rd country to sign on the framework.

Nigeria has come in now, however it still remains as an observer in the AfCFTA negotiations.

How Nigeria will come in as a full member, that is where the minister comes in, and we need an urgent fast track action from the ministry towards the ratification of the AfCFTA agreement.

Until it is ratified, we will remain an observer in the AfCFTA. We need to catch up, a lot of things have happened without our input,” he said.

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