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Don laments ineffective trade policies in Nigeria


Jonathan Aremu: Photo….Invest in Africa Now!

A professor of International Economic Relations, Jonathan Aremu, has lamented the country’s failure to plan effective trade policies and negotiate with international bodies for a better economic relationship.

Prof Aremu disclosed this while delivering the 20th inaugural lecture of the Covenant University, Ota Ogun State.The university teacher who spoke on the topic, “Sequencing and negotiating Nigeria’s regional and international trade agreement,” lamented that the nation’s ability to effectively participate in both the various regional and the multilateral trading processes is largely constrained by the technicalities and the volume of negotiations she faces.

He said: “Trade negotiations remain one of the most complex, challenging, and sometimes controversial issues in contemporary trade policy.“This is more serious for Nigeria which has no current trade policy. The administrative burden of handling and negotiating trade policy is a serious concern. Even as at now, the country still faces technical constraints on the negotiations of multiple agreements that will serve her trade interest.

“Confronted with generally weak negotiating, regulatory and implementation capacities, the country is handicapped in her ability to engage meaningfully in all these negotiations.”“Nigeria urgently requires a good trade policy that will go beyond the traditional focus on tariffs and quantitative restrictions and changes in relative prices to the one that will capture the deeper transformational and production issues in the economy; a trade policy that will emphasise the role of the government as an implementer of the trade policy and that of the private sector as the engine of growth, as well as partners in the formulation and implementation process.

“A good trade policy will set new and modern rules on how to increase the competitiveness of the economy at national, regional and multilateral levels; it will establish how these trade rules are developed, coordinated and implemented and promote a new philosophy of economic management based on a serious commitment to openness as dictated by the emerging realities at regional, continental and multilateral trading environments,” Aremu said.He advised the government to establish an appropriate trade policy development strategy that agreed with the economic recovery and growth plan of the country.On his part, the chancellor, Bishop David Oyedepo, rebuked African leaders, saying that they lack character, capacity and courage, three virtues he said they must have to move the black continent out of the woods.

He said, “Many of our leaders are intellectually bankrupt when confronted with some of these beautiful initiatives; it is very shameful that they often don’t know the meaning. And if they don’t know the meaning, how they go about its implementation.”

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Jonathan Aremu
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