By James Emejo
Despite the immense opportunities it presents to the economy, Nigeria currently lacks targeted and systematic strategies for exporting services.
According to a report by the Centre for Trade and Development Initiatives (CTDI) titled: “Analysis of Potentials of Nigeria’s Services Sector for Economic Diversification, Employment and Foreign Trade”, which was commissioned by the PDF II Bridge Programme, there is need for a holistic services sector policy with strategic development plans for priority sectors.
The report noted that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) currently directs the bulk of export promotional work to the goods sector largely sidelining the services potentials.
Unveiling the study during the recent PDF Bridge roundtable on the services sector, Prof. Abiodun Bankole of the CTDI, said policies are required to ensure that the services sector growth is enhanced.
He stressed the need for domestic regulation that will engender the profitable production and export of services to boost the sector.
According to him, the government should be in the forefront of assisting to provide market opportunities for services firms in export markets adding that foreign road shows and trade fairs should be overhauled to include services.
He said: “There should be sector-enhancing liberalisation, sector targeted promotion policies, development of human capital, strong institutions and provision of critical infrastructure to promote the services sector in Nigeria.”
Programme Manager, PDF II Programme, Mrs. Titilola Akindeinde, said the services sector had emerged as the highest contributor to the national output in the last decade and offered great potential to drive the diversification agenda of the government.
She said: “Bearing in mind that this sector possesses immense capacity to absorb a large proportion of unemployed youths and help create gender parity in exploiting economic opportunities, it has become imperative that Nigeria as a nation should explore ways to expand its export of services.”
According to her, the study was commissioned by the programme to analyse the potential of the country’s services sector for economic diversification, employment and foreign trade.
She added that if the actionable recommendations are implemented by the government, the study will help to shape government policies to promote the sector.
“The study was part of the programme’s contribution towards the Government of Nigeria’s priority areas on diversification of the economy and reforming the business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive sustainably,” she added