The Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), has set its sight on ambitiously targeting a 50 percent increase in the share of trade in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2023.This is
following its launch of a trade policy roadmap for the country, yesterday in Abuja.
The road map also seeks to make Nigeria one of the 15 largest economies in the world by 2025.
Acting chief trade negotiator/director- general, NOTN, Victor Liman, disclosed this while giving an overview of the newly- launched Nigeria trade policy journal.
The journal titled: ‘A Nigerian Policy Roadmap: Perspectives and Insights’ builds on the 2002 trade policy regime and captures contemporary changes, developments, and recent COVID-19 challenges and issues.
Data from the from the National Bureau of Statistics as of the first quarter in 2020, put trade’s contribution to Nominal GDP as 15.09 percent, lower than the 16.95 percent contribution in the same quarter of the previous year, as well as the preceding quarter’s 15.66 percent.
But Liman offered that the road map, would provide an ambitious and aggressive plan for fueling the country’s trade growth, and harvesting that growth to put the economy on a rapid growth path.
The NOTN head argued that a broad multi-sectoral and coordinated response was needed by Nigeria internally and regionally to sustain the economy, recover the losses and grow the economy towards sustainability, adding that now is the right time considering that the tools and mechanics that support free trade were either stalemated, destroyed or in an indeterminate state of abeyance.
According to him, supporting tools and mechanics for free trade, which include baseline thresholds of macro-economic stability, financial management, broad national reforms to open markets, eased land borders and air space movement among others are all under threat as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are all aware that COVID-19 has impacted all sectors and human interaction in Nigeria in the short, medium, and long run. Consequently, we are experiencing trade deficits; loss of businesses and investments; healthcare systems overstretched, welfare, tourism, and aviation impacted; free trade under threat; borders closed; supply chains disrupted; aviation suspended; changes to policies on trade, healthcare, budgets, ICT, oil, and gas,” he said.
To this end, he explained that the trade policy road map is rooted in the quest to tap into the rare opportunity presented by the pandemic; diversify growth and development pathways in manufacturing, health, processed and semi-processed exports, services trade, Innovation, research and development, science and technology, E-Commerce, teleworking, telemedicine, rapid development of Nigeria’s digital economy; formalising Nigeria’s large informal economy; further develop MSMEs, among others.