Journalism of Courage

Russia/Ukraine war: FG to release new trade policy

...says 24-hour ports operation underway

Following the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Federal Government has disclosed that it is working on a new policy on trade with the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) countries with whom it shares important mutual trade relations.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Chief Niyi Adebayo, who made the disclosure on Thursday at the weekly inter-ministerial press briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that the trade department of his ministry has been mandated to analyse the crisis in the region as its concerns trade with Nigeria with a view to coming up with a report.

According to Adebayo, the report will be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari for his approval when it is ready before being made public.

A recent report relying on data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) warned of the impact of the war on Nigeria as it showed that since 2019 Nigeria has received a total of $84.3million in capital imports from Russia.

Nigeria also imported N144billion ($346.2million) worth of durum wheat in 2020 and N123.9 billion ($297.8million) worth of durum wheat between January – September 2021 from Russia.

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The NBS data also showed that Nigeria similarly imported milk worth N721.5m ($1.7m) from Ukraine in 2021.

Adebayo said: “We have mandated our trade department to do an analysis to look at all the issues, and come out with a report.

“Once that report is ready, I will be presenting to the President and thereafter will come here to brief you about it,” he said.

On sugar sufficiency, Adebayo said Nigeria is targeting self-sufficiency in sugar production in the next 10 years and perhaps, start to export the commodity.

“We are looking at Nigeria being self-sufficient in sugar production in 10 years. We are hoping and we believe with the Programs that we have in place that within the next 10 years.

“We will be 100 percent self-sufficient in sugar, and not only that, we will be able to export sugar produced in Nigeria,” he added.

On the clearing challenges importers are experiencing at the seaports and impact on the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the minister said plans are underway to keep the ports open 24 hours and seven days a week.

“Yes, there are major challenges that are being encountered in the industry. And I said, one of the challenges is with the clearing of goods. I am part of the ease of doing business. My ministry is charged with the implementation of ease of doing business.

“The government is spending a lot of money on infrastructure, the road to the port. Contracts have been awarded for scanning machines for the Customs to enable them clear goods more efficiently and quicker.

“Plans are underway for the port to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week so that there will be quicker movement of goods.

“Before the end of the year, it is believed that the new port at Lekki will be operational,” Adebayo, a former Ekiti Governor, said.



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