ABUJA: Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, said in Abuja that Nigeria is set to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade to enhance intra-African trade and regional integration. Aganga announced this at the commemoration of African Industrialization Day (AID) with the theme: “Accelerating Industrialization for Boosting Intra-African Trade”.
AID is set aside by the Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI) under the aegis of the African Union Commission (AUC). It is used to focus attention on specific strategies to stimulate industrial development and the policy direction of Governments toward a sustainable industrial sector. Aganga, who was represented by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr Samuel Ortom, noted that regional integration in Africa would boost trade within the continent and attract investment in the manufacturing sector.
“Africa is indeed endowed with a wealth of natural and mineral resources which if properly harnessed, would serve as an engine of economic growth and prosperity on the continent. It is, however, unfortunate that Africa has been very successful in integrating itself with the rest of the world, but has not been successful in integrating countries on the continent. The fragmentation of Africa in terms of trade is thus dramatic and resulting in the loss of billions of dollars of GDPs and millions of jobs that ought to have been created.”
He said the ministry has commenced the implementation of trade facilitation programmes and policies to ensure accelerated industrialisation and enhance free movement of goods within the continent. “Nigeria urgently needs to overcome the challenges of trade, mainly the free movement of goods and services to ensure accelerated industrialisation and facilitate growth within the region. The ministry is working with NEXIM Bank on the proposed sea link coaster ferry services along the West African coast to reduce the journey to less than one week and focusing on formalising informal trades along borders.’’
He noted that no nation has moved from a poor to a rich nation by relying mainly on exporting raw materials without having a vibrant manufacturing sector. Kandeh Yumkella, the Director General of UNIDO, said the organisation was committed to strengthening Africa’s trade capacities to enable it participate in the global economy.