Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has launched the Nigeria Annual Trade Policy Report (NATPOR) drawn by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), which is to be published annually.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, presented the document to the public on Tuesday.
The report aims to rely on statistics to monitor, assess and re-negotiate Nigeriaâ€™s trading relationship with counterparts.
According to NAPTOR statistics, over 14 per cent of the Nigerian workforce (import and export) equivalent of 10.8 million people, are employed in trade activities.
It also noted that trade accounts for 18 per cent of GDP, second only to agriculture (which accounts for 29.1 per cent of the GDP).
However, the overall value of Nigerian trade between 2014 and 2015 decreased by approximately 7.4 billion (from about 23.7 billion in 2014, to 16.3 billion in 2015).
The report stated that in terms of percentage, this was a decrease of about 18.5 per cent in trade value between 2014 and 2015. The decrease in 2015 reflected the recession in economic activities due to the sharp decline in oil receipts. There was a slight increase in 2016. Stronger more positive performance is expected with Q4 figure in 2017.
NAPTOR also showed that trade statistics for the three quarters of 2017, both in export and import, South Africa remained Nigeriaâ€™s major trading partner in Africa. Within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), CÃ´te dâ€™Ivoire assumed the top position in terms of Nigeriaâ€™s imports from ECOWAS, while Togo maintained top position in terms of Nigeriaâ€™s exports to ECOWAS, in the reported three quarters of 2017.
Outside Africa, Europe remains Nigeriaâ€™s major regional trading partner (both in export and import) through the three reported quarters of 2017, followed by Asia.
Globally, India and the United States are Nigeriaâ€™s two top major trading partners in export through the three quarters of 2017, while China and Belgium are Nigeriaâ€™s two top trading partners in import through the three quarters of 2017.
The report identifies the priorities in Nigeriaâ€™s trade policy, and our use of trade policy as an instrument for structural transformation for diversification, modernization, construction of regional and global value chains, welfare enhancement, job creation. Gradually, working in close coordination with the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, the government hopes to phase out export of primary products to which value has not been added.
Enelamah similarly said access to Nigeriaâ€™s market would no longer be free to investors.
He said those seeking market access must link their investments to industrial activities to enhance regional and global value chains.
â€œAccess to Nigeriaâ€™s markets must no longer be for free. Investors who seek market access in Nigeria to sell their goods and services, must invest and connect to our industrial and manufacturing activities. We must negotiate better than we have done so far, so that investors who seek market access in Nigeria, must link their investments to industrial activities to enable creation of regional and global value chains,â€ Enelamah said.