Nigeria is targeting a quantum increase of its non oil exports to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to N116.5bn by 2015, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said.

Aganga spoke during the 7th National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment, in Markurdi, on Thursday.

This year’s event brought together all the Commissioners of Industry, Trade and Investment across the country to deliberate on strategies to fast track inclusive economic growth through industrialization, trade and investment

As part of efforts towards increasing the country’s non-oil export sector, the minister said that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had completed a new National Trade Policy and Strategy which will integrate Nigeria’s industrial, trade and investment priorities.

Aganga, who was represented by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said, “In the area of trade, I am glad to inform that we have just completed a new National Trade Policy and Strategy, which will soon be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval. This is the first time in over ten years that the country’s trade policy has been reviewed. For the first time in Nigeria’s history, we will have a trade policy that integrates with the industrial and investment priorities of the Nigerian people. Nigeria’s priorities for trade will facilitate job creation in Nigeria, and boost exports on non-oil products to new markets.

“Some objectives of our Trade agenda include: to achieve non-oil exports to ECOWAS from the present nine per cent to 20 per cent by 2015, with the ultimate goal of increasing the value of Nigeria’s recorded export to ECOWAS from $276.5 million in 2011 to $706.1 million in 2015; increase recorded non-oil export to other African countries from current three per cent of global export to 10 per cent by 2015, and to increase Nigeria’s non-oil as a proportion of total export from current five per cent in 2011 to 20 per cent by 2015, and 40 per cent in 2020. Also, we are putting structures in place to enable us penetrate the non-traditional markets with high valued-added export products”.

The minister stressed that the Federal Government was committed to diversifying the nation’s economy through policies that will boost domestic and foreign trade, attract more investments across all sectors of the economy and increase manufacturing sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.

The minister said, “We are committed to ensuring our trade commitments work for the Nigerian people, and we have begun to see remarkable progress. The value of non-oil products from Nigeria rose to $2.97 billion in 2013, as compared to $2.561 billion in 2012. The trends this year continue to be strong as well. Increasingly we have also begun to see a pivot in Nigeria’s trade links, towards the Eastern Hemisphere, as Asia plays an increasing role in Nigeria’s economic dynamics.

“The Nigerian government has initiated an aggressive diversification through an action plan for accelerated implementation of the Nigerian National Export Strategy and Women in Export Development programme (2012-2015), and Nigeria’s first Diaspora Export Programme, which taps into the vast network of Nigerians around the world.

He added, “In order to position Nigeria as a leading Industrial hub in the world, His Excellency, Mr President launched the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), as our flagship programme to rapidly industrialize Nigeria. Under the NIRP, we have identified Industry groups where we have comparative advantage and can become number one in Africa, or top 10 globally over a period of time – in areas under agro allied and agro processing; metals and solid minerals processing; oil and gas related industries; and construction, light manufacturing, and services. The NIRP will also address the numerous issues that have held back the Nigerian non-oil sector for years – it addresses the high cost of funding and lack of long term finance in Nigeria; it builds up industrial infrastructure and power for industry; provides industrial skills; links innovation and industry; improves our investment climate; strengthens product standards; and promotes local patronage.”

Speaking during the event, the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Suswan, called on the Federal to establish Warehouse Receipt System in all the six geo-political zones across the country in order to reduce the country’s dependence on importation of raw materials.

Suswan, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Steven Lawani , said “I want the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment to take advantage of the 7th meeting to evolve measures that would help address the challenges of reducing the nation’s dependence on imported raw materials for our industries.
“One key area we can address this challenges is the privatization of the Nigerian Commodity Exchange Market for optimal performance. A major intervention in this area will be to promote the establishment of the electronic warehouse receipt system in the six geo-political zones of the country.An organized commodity exchange market will lead to more investments in commercial farming in Nigeria and improve the farmer’s income