20 February 2013

Nigeria: FG to Earn Over 50 Percent Foreign Exchange From Agro-Industrial Exports

Federal Government Tuesday unveiled plans to earn over 50 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings from agro-industrial exports by 2020.

The plans are contained in a draft trade policy which was considered and reviewed during a meeting of the Enlarged National Focal Point (ENFP) on trade matters in Abuja.

The meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry Trade and Investment, Mr Dauda Kigbo, was to review the policy developed in 2002, with a view to make inputs by the various stakeholders.

The document noted that agriculture was a key economic driver and accounts for some 35 percent of (GDP) but underdeveloped and inefficient despite the large land area available and favourable agro-ecological environment.

The document stated that agricultural exports exceeded US$2 billion annually, mainly concentrated on a few unprocessed products while agricultural import of about $3.5 billion were mainly unprocessed foods products.

It stated that government was poised to put in place agricultural trade policy aimed at increasing astronomically foreign exchange earnings from agro-industrial exports.

The policy would ensure free flow of agricultural products within the country.

It is aimed at encouraging agricultural processing, link with the manufacturing sector, and value addition processes including imports of semi-processes products for further processing.

The agricultural trade policy will improve product quality through implementing appropriate standards and operating procedures and enforcing compliance.

It is also "aimed at encouraging exports through improved facilities for handling and storage of export products and establishment of export promotion centres."

The policy according to the statement is aimed at improving export market information and provide appropriate incentives including encouragement to investment.

It will also help to "improve farmers' access to productivity-enhancing inputs including imported inputs"

The permanent secretary in his remarks said ENFP meeting is a body charged with the responsibility of preparing Nigeria position on all trade issues.

He said the meeting was expected to consider the draft trade policy which had been developed in 2002 with a view to making inputs.

He said government had put in place certain measures to ensure that the country attain the vision 2020 goal.

The measures according to him include ensuring strong and robust fiscal policy, tax policy as well as trade policy to develop trade as basis for rapid, equitable and sustainable growth through broadening the national product base.

He said export policy would be focused on developing markets in Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and taking advantage of the United States African Growth Opportunity Acts (AGOA) and opportunities in other specialised markets.

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