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Govt Inaugurates Committee On Review Of Nigeria’s Trade Policy

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Govt To Address Challenges Facing Cotton Industry - Minister

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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Access Holdings Gets New CEO To Replace Wigwe 

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Bolaji Agbede

By John Michael OJo

Following the death of its Co-founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe in a helicopter crash on Friday night in the United States, Access Holdings Plc on Monday appointed Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings.

This was made known in a statement by the company’s Board of Directors dated February 12, 2024.

The statement which added that the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, reads: “Further to its announcement dated February 11, 2024, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has today announced the appointment of Ms Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

“The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

Agbede  who joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services.

She has also served in different roles at the bank including, Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 before she was appointed the company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022, a role she held until her new appointment

Agbede who commenced her professional career in Guaranty Trust Bank, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002.

She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

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Ogun Constitutes Ambassadors To Intensify Efforts On Investment Drive

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L-R: Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (Ogun State), Mr. George Onafowokan; Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo; Special Adviser, OgunInvest, Ms. Sola Arobieke; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela; Zonal Director, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, Mr. Hassan Lawal, at the OgunInvest Ambassadors Network Inauguration and Orientation Course held at OgunInvest Office, Isheri, Ogun State.

Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a 12-man committee of Ogun Invest Ambassador Network to create a robust and seamless working relationship between government and investors, for businesses to thrive.

Governor Abiodun, during the inauguration and orientation course for the ambassadors, at Ogun Invest Office, Isheri, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state, said the initiative was a landmark in the history of the state, as it would make a huge difference to the growth of current and potential investors willing to do business in the state.

He explained that the ambassadors would be responsible for enlightening investors on how to harness the opportunities that abound and what they stand to gain by doing business with the state, adding that their role is pivotal in building bridges, fostering collaboration and attracting investors that would propel the state to new heights.

Governor Abiodun, represented by the Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo tasked the ambassadors to sharpen their communication skills, charging them to make accountability and transparency their watchword.

The state’s helmsman disclosed that the government would, on a regular basis, carry out an evaluation performance on them through private organisations transacting business with the state, promising that those who performed well would be compensated accordingly.

Speaking, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adebola Sofela, who admonished them to be diligent, in making Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency a success, described them as a link between government and investors, saying a proper regulatory framework would be established to earn investors trust and respect.

Identifying the calibre of people in the network chain, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, noted that a new lease of life would soon commence in the state investment journey, expressing the hope that their selection would ensure a critical turning point in the investment atmosphere of the state and charged them to bring to bear their professionalism in the course of enhancing the industrial sector

Earlier, the Special Adviser on Ogun State Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency (Ogun Invest), Ms. Sola Arobieke, said the initiative was part of the drive to attract investments, enhance ease of doing business and carry out the service of a one-stop shop, to ensure access to relevant information and streamline processes for investors in the state, pointing out that the Ambassadors Network is a team of dedicated individuals from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), saddled with investment-related functions, to ease the settling of investors and investments into the state.

On his part, the Managing Director, Coleman Technical Industries Ltd., Mr. George Onafowokan, who spoke on, “Promoting Investment Through Service Excellence”, said the selected ambassadors should see their nomination as an opportunity to serve and see themselves as representatives of the state front liners at giving investors excellent service and be ready to drive both existing and potential investors through excellent service delivery

The 12 ambassadors inaugurated include Consultant, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Fatai Adeboyejo; Deputy Surveyor-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mrs. Halimat Yusuf; Director, Physical Planning, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Felicia Aleburu; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Physical Planning and Urban Development Mr. Jolaoluwa Olugbemisola; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Suraj Fashola; Director, Land Acquisition, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Anifowose Olatunji and Director of Commercial Services, Ministry of Justice, Mr. Olumuyiwa Ogunsanwo.

Others are Director of Environmental Quality Control, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Mary Adeosun; Director of Geological Services, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Lekan Eniolawun; Director, Estate and Facility Management, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, Mr. Olusola Abijo; Director, Estate, Housing Corporation, Mr. Nafiu Olaleye and Deputy Director, Local Government Affairs, Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mrs. Olapemiju Quadri.

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IGR To Contribute N240Bn To Ogun’s N703bn 2024 Budget – Commissioner

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L-R: Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, Chief Economic Adviser and Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, Commissioner for Budget and Planning and Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan, during the year 2024 budget breakdown and media parley in Abeokuta, on Monday.

Ogun State intends to generate N240 billion as Internally Generated Revenue in 2024.

The Chief Economic Adviser and Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo disclosed this during a comprehensive budget breakdown and media parley held in Abeokuta on Monday.

The state’s overall budget for the year is N703 billion, which has already been signed into law by Governor Dapo Abiodun.

Okubadejo said that the budget reflects the determined vision of Governor Abiodun’s administration to foster best-in-class governance, create a conducive environment for public-private partnerships, and achieve sustainable economic development while enhancing individual prosperity among its citizen.

He emphasized that the administration’s focal points which includes the facilitation of ease of doing business, institutional reforms, development of fiscal policy thrust, and the promotion of public-private partnerships was geared at boosting the economy of the state.

He added that the budget is strategically structured around key development pillars, encompassing infrastructure, social welfare, education, human capital development, youth empowerment, job creation, agriculture, and food security.

“Ogun State is ambitiously positioning itself to become the hub for industrialization, logistics, and knowledge—an aspiration integral to achieving the status of the most economically viable state in Nigeria and Africa and with its considerable land size, proximity advantages, ongoing industrialization, and robust infrastructure, is actively creating an investor-friendly environment,” he said.

In his remarks, Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan emphasized the resilience and sustainability of the budget to ensure economic and financial independence for the state.

He noted that the budget would capitalize on internally generated revenue, which would give room for more capital expenditure for infrastructural development.

In his welcome address, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, highlighted the media parley as a crucial platform for journalists to engage with key decision-makers with the objective of enhancing public understanding of the state’s achievements and future plans, aligning with Governor Abiodun’s ISEYA mantra.

He underscored the administration’s commitment to various economic indices, citing achievements in ease of doing business, revenue generation, national growth, and industrialization.

Akinmade noted that the media interaction was poised to catalyze dialogue, transparency, and public awareness, contributing to the overarching goal of sustained growth and development in Ogun State.

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