ACFTA: Nigeria’s trade policy outdated, not globally compliant – Expert

Calls for ACFTA review
Guest Lecturer/Professor of International Economic Relations, Covenant University, Prof. Jonathan Aremu (M), receiving an award from the President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mohammed Abba Tor, during the 1st Distinguish Lecture Series organized by the FCT Chapter of NIQS, in Abuja on Sunday (1/3/20). With them is the FCT Chairman of NIQS, Otaru Omokhagbo.

A professor of International Economic Relations has criticized Nigeria’s trade policy as not conforming to latest trend in development, urging the federal government to review it to achieve the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) pact.

The call came on Monday in Abuja at a maiden lecture series organized by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FCT Chapter) on the theme, “AfCFTA & The Service Sector In Nigeria: Implications For The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors”, News Agency of Nigeria reported.

Guest Lecturer at the event, Prof. Jonathan Aremu during his presentation complained that Nigeria’s trade policy is outdated and not globally compliant.

Aremu is a Professor of International Economic Relations at the Covenant University. He expressed worry that the country is still using trade policy document of 2001/2002, even in the face of developments around the world.

“A lot of things are happening now, we have to be proactive to have a competitive advantage. The services sector which previously were not contributing much, is increasing in volumes as a lot of activities are more involved in trading and services.

“Nigeria is blessed with a lot of service industries like Nollywood, Art and Craft, Creativity industries, and also e-commerce, everything is growing, and all these are service industries which were not captured in the earlier trade statistics,” he said.

Aremu, while citing example of services sector such as tourism, entertainment and construction industry, professional business services, said a lot is happening globally.

According to him, if Nigeria successfully enters into AfCFTA and get ratified there would be increase in volume of trade and services in the country.

The President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mohammed Tor, while emphasizing said the institute places so much premium on capacity building, stated that the impact of AfCFTA would affect professional bodies in many ways and it was time to sensitize all members to key in and be proactive.

“We are here to look at how we can benefit and take advantage of the ACFTA agreement and also discuss on deliberate policies to move the institute forward,” he added.

The FCT Chapter Chairman of NIQS, Joseph Otaru, in his address said the lecture is aimed at empowering members through capacity building for effective service delivery.

He said the lecture would help to redirect the chapter’s focus for members to be aware of the opportunities that are available in the AfCFTA and the need to tap into.

“We are calling on the FG to ratify the agreement so that we can explore the opportunities that are there for us.”

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