• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Katagum calls for enabling environment for international trade

FG wants developing nations to improve food production

Nigeria’s ability to effectively participate in international and regional trade activities such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) requires the provision of an enabling environment as well as enabling policies, Mariam Katagum, Nigeria’s Minister for State for Industry, Trade and Investment has said.

Speaking during a validation workshop on the report about service providers themed ‘Supporting Regional Market Access for Trade in Services under the AfCFTA for Nigeria‘ held on Tuesday in Abuja, she reiterated that trade is an engine of economic growth and can drive job creation as well as poverty reduction for the country and its citizens.

“Complementary policies are also required to address the various factors that often hamper competitiveness and limit access in both regional and global markets, for example, anti-competitive business practices and regulations that are unfavourable to business growth and development, as well as the challenges associated with inadequate ports, roads and other infrastructure,” she said.

Katagum who was represented by Aminu Dogondaji, technical assistant to the minister added that there is a strong evidence that connectivity to markets is a prerequisite for even countries with the best trade policy frameworks to benefit from participation in international trade.

“Consequently, Nigeria and other developing countries, especially those that are landlocked, need to adopt pragmatic policies and approaches to overcome these obstacles in order to fully reap the benefits of global markets,” she said.

Read also: Improving Nigeria’s border management for free trade

The minister said that the services sector has become the backbone of the modern economy, however it is highly complex and heterogeneous. She urged the NOTN to consult with services exporters to better understand prevailing constraints and initiate collaboration with sector-specific regulatory bodies in targeted partner countries to promote the harmonisation of rules and requirements.

“The government will ensure that all trade in services regulations are administered in a reasonable, objective and impartial manner, and will not hesitate to introduce measures that will ensure the integrity and stability of the financial system,” she said.

his remarks, Yonov Fred Agah , Director -General who is also the Chief Trade Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) said before embarking on any trade activity and negotiation, the situation of the country’s economy and sectors must be understood in addition to the prospects of the sectors in partner countries which the NOTN is doing starting with the services sector.

He said that the study focused on the financial services, tourism services, transport services, communications services and business services.

“We now have some experience on how to analyse some of these sectors and identify areas of interest and the best way to engage with partners,” he said.

He added that the study has some elements which include the current status of the services sector in the country, the modes of supply, among others.