African countries desire Nigeria to be a dumping ground for their goods – Perm. Sec
National Accord 8th November 2022
By ARMSTRONG ALLAHMAGANI, Bauchi
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Evelyn Ngige, has stated that all African countries who are signatories to the Continent’s Free Trade Area Agreement desire that Nigeria becomes a dumping ground for their goods.
She stated this in her opening remarks at a five-day Technical Session of the 14th Meeting of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, which began on Monday, with the theme: “Strengthening Industry, Trade and Investment Sector in Promoting Development in the Country”.
Ngige said that the meeting has once again brought together stakeholders to discuss existing and emerging issues in the industry, trade, investment and other related sectors of the economy.
She said that the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment is the highest Policy Advisory Body in the sector, under the Chairmanship of the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment adding that the main purpose of the Council meeting is to brainstorm, strategize, deliberate and recommend policies and programmes aimed at addressing challenges facing the sector.
According to her, the Council meeting could therefore, not have been held at a better time than now when efforts were being made by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, to diversify the economy from its present overdependence on the oil and gas sector.
“Another opportunity against which this council is important is the coming of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement. If we are able to get it right in this sector, Nigeria stands the opportunity to become a net exporter.
“Everybody is looking at Nigeria, all African countries who are signatories to this (African Continental Free Trade Area) Agreement, are expecting that we should rest on our oars so that Nigeria becomes a dumping ground for their goods.
“But I believe that with this sector sitting up to this challenge, we will overcome and reverse that aspiration of theirs towards Nigeria becoming a net exporter of goods and services and, of course, that will help us generate foreign exchange and improve our economy,” she said.
She added that: “Today, major economies, particularly in the developed world are driven by the industry, trade and investment sectors. We must therefore redouble our efforts towards turning our industry, trade and investment sectors into the main engine of growth of the national economy for the common prosperity of all Nigerians.
“The first step towards this end is to recommit ourselves to delivering on all decisions and resolutions reached during this Council Meeting for the development of this all-important sector, which has the potential to deliver the greatest good to the national economy and all Nigerians.”
The Permanent Secretary said that the Council Secretariat, as of Monday morning, has received well over 70 Memoranda from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies for deliberations and consideration.
She therefore, urged the participants to thoroughly examine these Memoranda with a view to making appropriate recommendations that will further strengthen the sector to deliver economic growth and development through industrialization and increase investment in the local economy for employment generation and wealth creation.
“In the next two days, our job here as Technical Officials will be to deliberate on all the Memoranda received and recommend appropriate decisions for presentation and consideration by the Ministerial Council on Thursday, 10th November 2022.
“It is important to note that decisions reached by the Council will be escalated for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council, after which the implementation of the decisions will be coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“On this note, I urge us all to remain positively committed and engage meaningfully in order to achieve the aim of this meeting, which is to entrench a viable industry, trade and investment sector for Nigeria’s robust and sustainable national growth and development,” she concluded.