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Govt Inaugurates Committee On Review Of Nigeria’s Trade Policy

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The Federal Government has inaugurated a committee on the review of Nigeria”s Trade Policy
Members of the committee were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) Nigeria Office for Trade Negotiation, (NOTN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), academia among others.

Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo said the ceremony marked a significant new trajectory on how Nigeria uses international trade and investment as veritable tools for economic growth and poverty reduction.

Otunba Adebayo stated that the major objectives of Nigeria’s Trade Policy which were first articulated in a document in 1989 under the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), was later revised in 2002; and has not been reviewed or revised since then.

“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, with a view to ensuring 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,” he explained.

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 to strategically respond to these global trends, in order to promote and sustain its trade performance.

READ ALSO: Adebayo Asks UK To Address Challenges Faced By Nigerian Businesses

“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” Otunba Adebayo stressed.

The minister listed the priorities to include building a thriving and sustainable economy; enlarge agricultural output for food security; attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; and expand transport and other infrastructure development.

He said others are expand business growth, entrepreneurship and industrialisation; improve access to quality education, affordable health care and productivity; enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; build 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 emphasized.

Otunba Adebayo noted that all national trade policy frameworks need to explicitly address all aspects of development, including sustainable development, in a holistic manner 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 pointed out.

The minister further stated that to ensure transparency and predictability, it is important that the Trade Policy of Nigeria adopts a perspective approach, such as a five-year cycle which will be the first in this dispensation

“Similarly, it is essential that the national trade policy framework, going forward, is continuously augmented or complemented by year-to-year import and export policy guidelines, thereby reducing trade costs and enhancing a more transparent trade-enabling environment in Nigeria. For this to be effective and efficient, a robust and intensive mechanism for consultations with stakeholders, particularly the private sector and civil society is required.

I, therefore, hope that the TPNRC would consider and provide for how best this objective should be operationalised,” he stated.

According to him, In spite of the prevailing environment of geo-political tensions, particularly the Brexit Vote, the 2016 US elections and the intensification of trade tensions with China, as well as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, the international trading system has continued to experience several initiatives on trade reforms, leading to various new preferential trade agreements, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (FTA) Agreement that entered into force on 30th May, 2019.

READ ALSO: How Govt Can Attract Investments To Nigeria’s Economy – Okonjo-Iweala

“Since there is consensus that the the main political implication of the proliferation of free trade agreements is the positive impact it has on international trade, including the promotion of growth and development in developing countries and LDCs, Nigeria also needs to fashion out how to use its FTA landscape to support pro-growth and pro-poor trade policy reforms. To ensure inclusive economic recovery and growth, special attention should be paid to the needs of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), youth and women, as well as persons with disabilities,” he emphasized.

“Let me assure you that, in providing these guidelines, it is not my intention to be prescriptive, or to circumscribe your work, as a review committee. Nevertheless, I merely wish to highlight the key pillars around which you may need to build, so as to ensure coherence and consistency with the various activities and issues already articulated under the Ministry’s Trade Policy Action Plan 2022 – 2026, which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC)” He added.

In a remark, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Mike Okpanachi who commended the Federal Government for the setting up of the committee said the move would go a long way in enhancing the growth of the nation’s economy.

He therefore promised the committee’s commitment towards producing a trade document that would meet international best practices in the sector.

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BREAKING:CBN Orders Banks To Pay New Naira Notes Over The Counter

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BREAKING: Old Naira Notes Deadline Stays - Emefiele
CBN Governor Emefiele

Contrary to its earlier directive, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday ordered commercial banks to begin the payment of the new naira notes to customers over the counter.

This is according to a Thursday statement signed by the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Osita Nwanisobi. According to him, it is part of moves to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians who are finding it hard to get the new notes.

“In line with this resolve, the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000,” the statement added.

While admitting the difficulties Nigerians have faced in trying to get money through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), the apex bank reassured citizens of its commitment to making the process seamless.

It also vowed to prosecute racketeers of the new naira notes, saying it was working with relevant agencies to make that happen.

“We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN,” it warned.

“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended) stipulates that ‘spraying of, dancing or matching on the naira or any note issued by the bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.’

“Similarly, Section 21(4) states that ‘It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the bank.’”

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BREAKING:Emefiele Assures Nigerians Of Banks Accepting Old Notes After Deadline

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BREAKING: Old Naira Notes Deadline Stays - Emefiele

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday assured Nigerians that commercial banks  will still accept old naira notes from customers after the February 10 deadline.

The assurance came as he met with the ad hoc committee set up by the House House of Representatives on the CBN naira redesign policy.

The lawmakers had accused Emefiele of breaching section 20 of the CBN act.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila Threatens To Arrest Emefiele Over Old Naira Notes’ Deadline

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, had accused the CBN governor of breaching Section 20 of the CBN Act which, according to him, mandates commercial banks to accept old notes even after the deadline.

“After the expiration date, such naira notes changed will no longer be legal tender but it also says that even five months, three months, or two months after, even in June, all the old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank,” Gbajabiamila had stated in a Thursday speech.

Emefiele, while addressing the ad hoc committee, said he agreed with the lawmakers on Section 20 of the CBN Act.

“Section 20 says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status that we are mandated to collect that money. And I stand with the House of Reps on this,” he stated, adding that, “if you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank, we will certainly give you the opportunity to bring it back into the CBN to redeem it. Either you pay it to your bank account or you want to do an exchange — we give you. You will not lose your money. This is the assurance I give to Nigerians.”

 

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BREAKING: Gbajabiamila Threatens To Arrest Emefiele Over Old Naira Notes’ Deadline

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BREAKING: Gbajabiamila Threatens To Arrest Emefiele Over Old Naira Notes' Deadline

Five days to the deadline for the old naira notes to cease being valid, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele is still in trouble over the policy.

House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday threatened to order the arrest of Emefiele to appear before the committee investigating the old naira notes withdrawal.

Gbajabiamila said this on Thursday after the Majority Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa informed him that Emefiele and others shunned the invitation to a meeting on Wednesday.

Responding to the statement, Gbajabiamila said he would not hesitate to order the Inspector General of Police, Akali Baba to issue an arrest warrant to compel Emefiele to appear before the committee.

READ  ALSO: Old Naira Notes Deadline Stays – Emefiele

Gbajabiamila added that the House ought to adjourn today to prepare for the elections, however, they will stay back to resolve the currency swap crisis.

“I will, pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 89 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 19 (2)(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, not hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force to compel the attendance of the CBN or Managing Directors who fail, refuse or neglect to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives,” he said.

He also stated that Emefiele’s deadline is not consistent with section 20 of the CBN Act, noting that the banks are compelled to accept the old notes even after the expiration of the deadline.

The Presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, who is believed to be The Godfather of Gbajabiamila, also spoke against the policy on Thursday during a rally.

Tinubu alleged that the policy is targeted at his presidential ambition.

 

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