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How foreign trade academy can aid economic diversification

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foreign-tradeEven as the country is looking towards diversification of its economy, while untold hardship is tormenting its citizens, the need for foreign trade academy is essential at this time of economic downturn, says President, Nigerian Vietnam Chamber of Commerce, Oye Akinsemoyin.
According to him, foreign trade helps every country to make optimum use of its natural resources.

Akinsemoyin pointed out that each country can concentrate on production of those goods, for which its resources are best suited, while wastage of resources is avoided and people in general get a feeling that their government is concerned about them, their resources and their money.

Akinsemoyin who doubles as the Convener, Foreign Trade Academy, said the academy also introduces an extra caution for maintaining quality that is able to meet the international standards. Such quality-control equipments and procedures thus become available to domestic producers also. The entire state of affairs ultimately benefits the country.

Speaking on the evolution of the board, he said the academy has been in existence, but it got to a stage that we need to convene a board to get it from mere table to the public.

“What the board has been summoned to do is to chart the part forward. Looking at some of the documents we have prepared. We have prepared an information memorandum in case we decide to go to the public to decide private placement for fund setting up of the trade academy, we have prepared a set of projections which largely looks at what the expenses would be to set up a trade academy and what the likely student intake would be which would bring in the revenue. We have also prepared a draft document for Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the government in case that is the route the board decides to do, he said.

Akinsemoyin noted that the board is still in its teething period, “a very formative stage, we are going to invite more members to join the board and grow the board to the stage that we would be satisfied due to the weight because there is a lot of weight that is likely to come on the head of the board.

“In the next three months, we expect that the board would have been able to map out clearly in very simple terms, what the trade academy would be doing in terms of curriculum. How the dream would be funded either by PPP or by going solely privately funded. We expect that within the next 90 days, all these things would have been look at. To take off, the board is proposing a conference which will sensitise the public. Ministries and people in the regulatory bodies, the legislator and the Presidency,” he explained.

Speaking on the foreign exchange and how it affects the academy, he said the foreign exchange policy is very simple, government is clear in its mind what it intends to achieve because of the situation in the oil industry, oil earns Nigeria 80-90 per cent of its revenue and the revenue we get from oil now is dwindling which is affecting our foreign reserve.

“Education is part of our infrastructure looking at it from the angle of capacity building. We don’t envisage any problem in that area. It is not as if we are expecting things to be rosy. We know we are prepared to give in the sacrifice we require. What we are looking at, is for some time.

“The policy is not going to remain in place forever, am sure it would be reviewed from time to time depending on what the situation is. We are expecting that in the next two years, the economy would start diversifying; agriculture would start earning us forex, once that is beginning to happen and the tightness is beginning to loosen up, there might be some review, he said.

He disclosed that the academy would impact trade skills and also export trade law and protocol facilitation. There are people who are willing to go into export trade who don’t possess the training and skills; and also for people who are in trade facilitation, agreement signing among others who goes into agreement negotiation of behalf of the country, the academy should be in a position to build minds who in the future would be able to serve Nigeria in such areas.


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