The Federal Government has said that it has put structures in place to boost trade between Nigeria and other member states of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS).
Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said this during the opening ceremony of the 3rd Nigerian Non-Oil Export Conference Exhibition and Awards, in Abuja.
Aganga noted that the Federal Government would formalise data capturing of the country’s non-oil exports to ECOWAS countries from its current 10 per cent to 50 per cent within the next three years as part of efforts to improve regional trade.
He said, “One of the initiatives, which the Nigerian Export Promotion Council has done is the data capturing of the informal trade between Nigeria and other countries. Also, we are developing the trans-national border markets in order to formalise trade that we tend to see across the borders. The first one we are doing is in Okerete, Oyo State. Already, we have done the business plan.
“Also, on the regional level, we will redress the previous situation of 80 per cent of ECOWAS goods being of Nigerian origin and less than 10 per cent of it being captured in Nigeria’s official trade performance figures, hence our determination to formalise Nigeria’s exports to ECOWAS up to 50 per cent from its present 10 per cent over the next three years. We also believe that making ECOWAS Nigeria’s catchment area will help to enhance the capacity of our non-oil exporters to more actively and fruitfully participate in the fiercely competitive international marketplace, which is the pillar of our development strategy.”
The Minister also noted that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) had developed a special programme to fast-track the registration of micro, small and medium enterprises, adding that the Ministry of Trade and Investment would work with the commission to effectively participate and compete in the global export marketplace.
Aganga said, “The other thing we are doing is to encourage micro, small and medium scale enterprises who are into non-oil export by letting them know that they can access finance if they become organised. We have opened a special window in the Corporate Affairs Commission to fast-track the registration of most of these MSMES.
“They will come on board, register and then we will form them into co-operatives. Also, we will link them up with business developers to work with them to develop their business plans to enable them have access to credit. Thereafter, we will work with them to make sure that they have access to finance.”
Speaking during the event, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said the development of the non-oil sector was critical to the realisation of Nigeria’ s vision of becoming one of the 20 most developed economies by the year 2020.