As the International Sea Trade Investment Convention (ISTIC 2015)
berths in Lagos, former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, has thrown his weight behind the call by maritime stakeholders for Nigeria’s export trade policies to be strengthened, asserting that if the right frameworks are in place, Nigeria would be a trade gateway for the rest of Africa.
Gen. Abubakar, who is also a respected international diplomat and a
United Nations (UN) Goodwill Ambassador, expressed this thought while
addressing audience as the Keynote Speaker of the Convention, which is
ongoing in Lagos.
The theme of the Convention which is the first of its kind to hold in Nigeria, is: “Exploring New Trade Frontiers,” and
the thrust of the discussions is focused on the fact that a nation like Nigeria should be export-driven rather than being
According to Abubakar, Nigeria is a country with vast natural resources. in terms of land, agricultural produce and viable seaways linking to the rest of the world hence, “Nigeria is righty positioned to be a
trade gateway for the rest of Africa if the required policies and framework are put in place.”
He averred that for countries like Nigeria to be able to maximize the gains of international sea trade, regulations that reduce bureaucracy and strengthen trade between Nigeria and other African nations should be implemented with focus on improving volume of trade and the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP).
The former Head of State expressed concern that for many years since
independence, Nigeria and many other countries in Africa have not been
able to get a firm grip on international trade compared to other nations of the world in Asia, Europe and America.
In his words, “Trade patterns in Africa has remained largely the same even decades after independence from colonial masters.”
While pointing out that port design, location and access to port are
critical in international trade.
Gen. Abubakar emphasized that for export trade to thrive in Nigeria, a set of fundamental concerns in the maritime industry must have to be addressed, vis-a-vis good access roads and rail systems to move cargo, modern ports for ship-cargo interface, logistics and well-thought out
terms of trade between Nigeria and her trading partners.
He said that, “There must also be a credible financial system in place to fund export business and an effective standardization policy to support regulatory framework of export, as well as power supply and modern ports facilities in Nigeria’s yearning to boost export trade,”he concluded.