Nigeria’s trade policies ineffective, says don - PUNCH
BY Dayo Ojerinde
A professor of International Economic Relations, Jonathan Aremu, has lamented Nigeria’s indifference to drafting effective trade policies and making negotiations with international bodies which could enable its private sector to transform the economy.
Aremu made this known on Thursday at the 20th Inaugural Lecture of Covenant University in Ota, Ogun State.
While delivering the lecture titled, ‘Sequencing and negotiating Nigeria’s regional and international trade agreements,’ Aremu said a good trade policy would elevate the role of the private sector from its dormant level to that of a partner in the formulation and implementation of processes, as well as create opportunities for the development of the private sector to perform its assigned role.
“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 of 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.
The Chancellor of the University, Bishop David Oyedepo, said it was unfortunate that African leaders did not have the character, capacity and courage to move the continent forward.
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 will they go about its implementation?
“Where is the capacity when you are bereft of the intellect required of a leader? Where is the courage when you don’t have the political will to follow through with policies that will improve governance? And where is the character when all they are thinking about is how to win elections as many times as possible while ignoring developmental initiatives?”