By Gbenga Adedayo
The Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed frustration over Nigeria’s poor handling of trade relations with other countries, particularly African countries, resulting in loss of revenue for the country.
Narrow approach by economic managers of trade and lack of strong industrialists advocacy designed to influence trade policies are part of the problems weighing down the country from playing leadership role in trade relations among nations.
This view was expressed by the Director General of LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf at a Lecture organized by the Centre for Financial Journalism in Lagos. The theme of the Lecture was “Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Agreement for Nigeria’s Economic Development.”
Lawal who was on the Panel of Discussion, called on the federal government to review trade policy to encourage competitiveness as against protectionism which causes the Nigerian Customs to spend valuable time pursuing smugglers, saying that a reviewed trade policy will lead to increased players and participants, and by extension, revenue.
He said policies are put in place in Nigeria out of ignorance, “yet people are afraid to speak out” despite the fact that those policies are not impacting on the economy. Citing an example, the Lawal said Nigeria does not have competitive advantage in motor manufacturing industry, yet, tariffs on imported cars are raised, saying this does not serve the interest of Nigerians.
The Director General of LCCI further added his voice to those calling on the government to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement because of its various benefits, opportunities and advantage to Nigeria.
The Guest Lecturer at the occasion was Prof. Benedict Oramah, President, African Export-Import Bank, Cairo, Egypt.