Good afternoon and thank you all for coming to the launch of this First Edition of the “Nigerian Annual Trade Report” (NATPOR). 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.
In a rapidly changing global economy, with much uncertainty we believe that the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area would provide Africa with tremendous opportunity to achieve significant growth driven by intra-Africa trade.
In accordance with African Union Assembly Decision of January, 2012, the Union decided to establish the Continental Free Trade Area by 2017. Although we missed this timeline last year, we still have the opportunity to establish the Continental Free Trade Area by March, 2018.
On behalf of the Nigerian Delegation, thank for convening this meeting of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB) for Nigeria’s 5th Trade Policy Review. I speak for the record, so a Note of thanks.
For the record, I should add that Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Honourable Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria, should have led the Nigerian Delegation to this Trade Policy Review. Minister Enelamah, however, is in Berlin, representing President Buhari at the G20 Leaders outreach with Africa.
The Nigerian Government welcomes and appreciates the step by the ECOWAS Commission to initiate consultations on an
ECOWAS-wide zero draft Trade Policy. The initiation of this process is essential and timely in a rapidly changing
Continental and global economic and trade policy landscape. We congratulate H.E. Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza, President
of the ECOWAS Commission and his Team for his leadership.