By Etse Kassim, Abuja
Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, says the Nigerian trade sector employed 10.8 million people in the third quarter of 2017.
Enelamah, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday during the launch of the Nigeria Annual Trade Policy Report (NATPOR), said statistics also reveals that the sector contributed 18 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the overall value of Nigerian trade between 2014 and 2015 decreased by approximately 7.4 billion (from about 23.7 billion in 2014, to 16.3 billion in 2015).
“In terms of percentage, this is a decrease of about 18.5% in trade value between 2014 and 2015. The decrease in 2015 reflected the recession in economic activities due to the sharp decline in oil receipts.
‘There was a slight increase in 2016. Stronger more positive performance is expected with Q4 figure in 2017,” the minister said.
While expressing the readiness of the Federal Government to phase out export of primary products to which value has not been added, the minister stated that South Africa has remained the country’s highest trade partner in Africa just as India and the United States have taken the top positions at the global level.
“NAPTOR also showed that trade statistics for the three quarters of 2017, both in export and import, South Africa remained Nigeria’s major trading partner in Africa. Within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Côte d’Ivoire assumed the top position in terms of Nigeria’s imports from ECOWAS, while Togo maintained top position in terms of Nigeria’s exports to ECOWAS, in the reported three quarters of 2017.
“Outside Africa, Europe remains Nigeria’s major regional trading partner (both in Export and Import) through the three (3) reported quarters of 2017, followed by Asia. Globally, India and the United States are Nigeria’s two top major trading partners in export through the three quarters of 2017, while China and Belgium are Nigeria’s two top trading partners in import through the 3 quarters of 2017,” he said.
Enelamah commended the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations for their roles in making the report possible, even as he expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to learn from Switzerland in the area of trade development and rapid economic development.