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Nigeria To Intensify Promotion Of Domestic Trade

Minister of Trade and Industry Olusegun Aganga

By Eric Ojo

The Nigerian government has reiterated its resolve and commitment towards facilitating the growth and development of domestic trade across the country.

Minister of Trade and Industry Olusegun Aganga

Minister of Trade and Industry Olusegun Aganga

The Federal Government said it would partner traders and other regional organisations to provide the conducive environment for the development of domestic trade in order to further grow the industrial sector of the economy.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who made the observation during a Town Hall Meeting with Traders in the South West geo-political region, on Tuesday in Lagos, noted that Nigerians are very enterprising and hardworking people, adding that all they need is the enabling environment to do business.

“Our job as a government is to provide them with the conducive environment to do their businesses so that they can create jobs and drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development. In order to achieve this, we are working both with state governments and ECOWAS to tackle the bottlenecks inhibiting free movement of goods across the country and the sub-region”, he said.

Mr. Aganga also explained that the meeting which was attended by traders and representatives of market associations from Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states, as well representatives of the Nigeria Customs Service, Immigration and the Police, was necessitated by the Federal Government’s recognition of the importance of domestic trade in achieving its inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development in line with President Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.

According to him, “This is the first ever town hall meeting and also the first in the series that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment will be organizing frequently as part of our deliberate strategy to develop and grow domestic trade across the country”.

He added that the event is part of the domestic trade strategy with which, the Federal Government wants to bring policy formulation and implementation down to the grassroots and ensure that traders are carried along.

He equally observed that domestic trade, according to statistics, have a strategic role to play in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth and development in the country.

“After the re-basing of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), agriculture contributes about 22 per cent to the GDP, industrial sector contributes about 26 per cent, while services sector accounts for about 52 per cent. When you look at the services sector’s contribution, retail and wholesale trade is about one third of that 52 per cent”, he further stated.

Also speaking at the meeting, the National Co-ordinator, Traders’ Rights Protection Initiative, Mr. Christopher Okpala, commended the Federal Government for organizing the interactive town hall meeting, adding that there was an urgent need for the government to come up with a legislation to protect local traders.

“We want thank the Minister of Trade and Investment for organizing the first ever Town Hall meeting with us .This meeting has given us a sense of belonging by involving us in government policies and implementation. However, there is the need to for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment through the collaboration with other relevant agencies and traders via the National Assembly to come up with legislation that would protect traders in their local markets and daily transactions anywhere in Nigeria.

“Also, there is the need for the ministry and all relevant government parastatals and agencies with the active involvement of foreign missions to develop a template that will ensue that Nigerian traders are protected abroad. In addition to this, we want the government to whittle down the excesses of law enforcement agencies against the average trader”, he stressed.

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