LAUNCH STATEMENT BY DR. OKECHUKWU E. ENELAMAH, HONOURABLE
MINISTER FOR INDUSTRY, TRADE AND INVESTMENT
KEY MESSAGES AND HIGHLIGHTS
27TH FEBRUARY 2018
Good afternoon and thank you all for coming to the launch of this First Edition of the “Nigerian Annual Trade Report” (NATPOR).
Communicate Nigeria’s priorities in trade policy, signaling national commitments to the global economy and our trading counterparts;
Assess, re-organize and manage Nigeria’s Trade Relationships; and,
Ensure that our trade policy is geared to contributing to GDP, modernizing the Nigerian economy, enhancing welfare and, creating jobs.
There is a degree of excitement that we are now at this point. The NATPOR is the expression of the firm commitment by the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that, in principle and in practice, trade policy and associated policies, particularly investment, serve as drivers for modernization, diversification, growth, development and job creation.
This report underlines the significant role of trade, for growth and job creation, in the Nigerian economy. As the facts show in the statistics jointly produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN), in the period under review (third quarter of 2017), Trade activities (import and export) employed over 14% of the Nigerian workforce, equivalent of 10.8 million people. Trade accounts for 18% of GDP, second only to agriculture (which accounts for 29.1% of the GDP). However, the overall value of Nigerian trade between 2014 and 2015 decreased by approximately 7.4 billion (from about 23.7 billion in 2014, to 16.3 billion in 2015). In terms of percentage, this is a decrease of about 18.5% in trade value between 2014 and 2015. The decrease in 2015 reflected the recession in economic activities due to the sharp decline in oil receipts. There was a slight increase in 2016. Stronger more positive performance is expected with Q4 figure in 2017.
This is why the theme of this first edition of the NATPOR is: “Growth, Modernization and Job Creation”.
This first edition of the “Nigerian Annual Trade Policy Report”, which is being launched today shall be a policy tool to:
In this first edition of the Report, there are several highlights:
there is a statement of Nigeria’s direction of travel in trade policy and associated negotiations. The Report identifies the priorities in Nigeria’s trade policy, and our use of trade policy as an instrument for structural transformation for diversification, modernization, construction of regional and global value chains, welfare enhancement, job creation. Gradually, working in close coordination with the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, we shall phase out export of primary products to which value has not been added;
there is strategic focus in this first edition on Switzerland, as a country with which Nigeria is building strategic trade and economic relations. Switzerland is a country from which many useful lessons can be learned, from economic organization, to its world class apprenticeship and skills development model, to its high-technology and business models. Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Amman, my counterpart and Swiss Economy Minister, has contributed a Note to Readers in the Chapter dedicated to Nigeria’s Strategic Focus. Each year, we shall invite friends of Nigeria that Nigeria has in Strategic Focus to contribute Articles for the Readership.
the NATPOR provides a stewardship account of the efforts and accounts of the NOTN, from its establishment on 10th May, 2017, by the decision of the Federal Executive Council. The establishment of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) was a conscious and strategic choice by the FGN to undertake important domestic systemic reforms and use trade as an engine to modernize, grow the Nigerian economy and create jobs. In its less than 1-year of existence, the NOTN is building a solid track record of accomplishment towards the growth of Nigeria’s economy. There are concrete achievements.
Last year, we signed Trade and Investment Cooperation Declarations that point to how, and define the template for how Nigeria shall move to update and modernize its Trade and Investment Agreements. In November, I signed with the US Commerce Secretary an Instrument for “Commercial and Investment Policy Dialogue”. In December 2017, I signed a Joint Declaration on Economic Cooperation with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA; Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein).
This month, in Addis, the NOTN led Chief Negotiators in the African Union (AU) to conclude the negotiations for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In November last year, the NOTN organized in Nigeria the hosting of the High-Level Policy and Private Sector Trade and Investment Facilitation Forum on the theme “Facilitating Trade and Investment for Development”, along with the WTO Friends of Investment for Development (FIFD. The outcome document was “The Abuja Statement – Deepening Africa’s Integration in the Global Economy Through Trade and Investment Facilitation for Development”. This document is now the multilateral reference point for global action on Investment Facilitation.
The NOTN is preparing the Draft Law and training professionals for the establishment of a Trade Remedy Infrastructure to safeguard the Nigerian economy from unfair trading practices that are injurious to the domestic economy.
A domestic reform agenda for improving trade integration in ECOWAS is the subject of consultations, at this time.
a Chapter is dedicated to Trade Statistics. This Chapter was prepared jointly by the NOTN and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). These trade statistics shall be used to monitor, assess and re-negotiate Nigeria’s trading relationship with counterparts. The trade trend over the last four (4) years has been less than desired. We are just getting to grips with this, as this Report shows:
Trade activities (import and export) employed over 14% of the Nigerian workforce, equivalent of 10.8 million people. Trade accounts for 18% of GDP, second only to agriculture (which accounts for 29.1% of the GDP). However, the overall value of Nigerian trade between 2014 and 2015 decreased by approximately 7.4 billion (from about 23.7 billion in 2014, to 16.3 billion in 2015). In terms of percentage, this is a decrease of about 18.5% in trade value between 2014 and 2015. The decrease in 2015 reflected the recession in economic activities due to the sharp decline in oil receipts. There was a slight increase in 2016. Stronger more positive performance is expected with Q4 figure in 2017.
The trade statistics show that for the three quarters of 2017, both in export and import, South Africa remained Nigeria’s major trading partner in Africa. Within ECOWAS, Côte d’Ivoire assumed the top position in terms of Nigeria’s imports from ECOWAS, while Togo maintained top position in terms of Nigeria’s exports to ECOWAS, in the reported three quarters of 2017. Outside Africa, Europe remains Nigeria’s major regional trading partner (both in Export and Import) through the three (3) reported quarters of 2017, followed by Asia. Globally, India and the United States are Nigeria’s two top major trading partners in export through the 3 quarters of 2017, while China and Belgium are Nigeria’s two top trading partners in import through the 3 quarters of 2017.
The Trade Statistics Chapter is a first. The statistics shall be updated quarterly for careful monitoring, analysis and negotiating adjustments. But even now, there are key lessons that we are drawing. Nigeria must be more innovative, more enterprising and more aggressive in the use of trade, investment, technology and the abundant intellectual property of creative Nigerians to grow the economy, enhance welfare and diversify the Nigerian economy away from primary commodities.
We must negotiate better than we have done so far, so that investors who seek market access in Nigeria, must link their investments to industrial activities to enable creation of regional and global value chains. We must be more creative in making trade and investment count for growth, diversification, modernization and job creation in the Nigerian economy.
Going forward, access to Nigeria’s markets must no longer be for free. No free market access! Investors who seek market access in Nigeria to sell their goods and services, must invest and connect to our industrial and manufacturing activities.
the Report previews our work on trade for 2018. In 2018, the goals and priorities of Nigeria’s trade relationships is to dynamically scale up action to push for trade and investment facilitation for growth, development and job creation, as well as use trade, investment and associated areas to accelerate growth, modernize and diversify the economy and expand employment opportunities for approximately 2 million Nigerians entering the labour market, annually.
In 2018, it is expected that the AfCFTA will be adopted and the Single Market for Trade in Goods and Services launched. We shall invest time and effort in the implementation and work hard to connect the market opportunities from the AfCFTA to industrial activity in Nigeria. The objective is to create value chains that connect regionally and globally, bolted into Nigerian producers of goods, service providers and industry. The intended outcome is to grow the domestic market and also connect it, profitably, to regional, continental and global markets. In preparation for the historic and unprecedented AfCFTA, there shall be a Nigeria-wide Sensitization Workshop on the AfCFTA Agreement, so that and given particular attention to sensitizing Nigerian businesses and corporations to take advantage of the new opportunities and market access that the CFTA will herald.
In 2018, attention shall be accorded to deepening regional integration in ECOWAS. The NOTN will focus on engaging with other Member States to drive much-needed reforms needed to deliver on the economic integration agenda of ECOWAS based on the sovereign dynamics of ECOWAS Member States, as well as preparing the ECOWAS sub-region to maximize the benefits of the AfCFTA.
In 2018, Nigeria will negotiate strategic relations with notable trading partners using agreed 21st century templates for Nigeria’s Trade Agreements.
In 2018, the establishment of a rules-based trade remedy infrastructure is an urgent priority. The NOTN shall be working closely with King and Spalding one of the leading global trade law firms to this end.
In 2018, the NOTN shall finalize the formulation of the Economic Diversification Index (EDI). The EDI is being developed as a statistical measure that shall enable greater rigour and precision in ascertaining by what degree the economy is being diversified away from oil receipts. This index is being worked on and finalized by joint efforts of the NOTN and NBS. This, again, shows the critical importance of trade measures in the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
To achieve these goals, the NOTN is investing in intensive training of trade negotiators and trade statisticians. We are training them at world class levels. This is a major priority this year.
As the Number One economy in Africa, Nigeria shall do what is required to grow the Nigerian economy and use trade, investment and technology as engines of growth, while contributing to mutually profitable business relationships, and prosperity in a rules-based global economy.
This report is an invitation to Nigeria’s trading partners and businesses to join hands with the Government in the reconstruction, modernization and growth of the Nigerian economy.
As Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I am honoured to launch this maiden edition of the Nigerian Annual Trade Policy Report (NATPOR), which shall be published annually.
I congratulate the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) that produced this report and which shall produce it annually.