FG Hires Negotiator to Aggressively Pursue More Free Trade Agreements 

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Nume Ekeghe
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, has said as part of plans to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs), the federal government has hired a negotiator from Geneva to facilitate more free trade agreements with other equally beneficial countries.

Free trade is the economic policy of not discriminating against imports from and exports to foreign jurisdictions. Buyers and sellers from separate economies may voluntarily trade without the domestic government applying tariffs, quotas, subsidies or prohibitions on their goods and services.

This, he said, would increase investments, production and an increased inflow of alternative foreign exchange.
He said this yesterday at the FBN Quest investor conference 2016 in Lagos.

Enelamah said: “When we talk about free trade agreements, what we are trying to do is to go beyond just plan vanilla trade. We want to deal with countries were can give them whatever assurances they need so that the players of those countries can come and invest and actually produce here etc.”

“Trade is a big deal in the 21th century and the way must nations that are successful are going is this free trade agreement where they have strategic partnership with other nations and working together, they do what is mutually beneficial and that leads  to immediate and direct benefits. Nigeria has very few of such agreement. We just got a trade negotiator from Geneva and the goal is to do some more work there and work with dome specific countries to achieve results.”

Furthermore, speaking on the state of the economy, he said: “Some of the issues we have in Nigeria are poor macroeconomic performance, oil export dependent economy and low foreign direct investment inflows.”
On these issues, he said the government has set out five executive principles which are creating a favourable economic framework, MSME support, sector prioritisation, partnership and Joint ventures and immediate implementation.

He further said: “The number one responsibility we have to you is to create an enabling environment so your businesses and economic activities and succeed because when you succeed  we succeed as a nation.
“The important thing we as a government should is partnership. For example, if you think about infrastructure, the infrastructure we need is much that there is no way government has the resources to build it. We can’t have industrialisation without power.

“The nature of manufacturing is very cost sensitive, that is just the nature of the sector. So power supply is very important and all the other things they would need. So we need to collaborate with other ministries like power for success of the private sector.
“We have to have a coalition between monetary, fiscal structural policies. We need better coordination to get a defined result,” he added.