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Trade Negotiations Office Inaugurates Services Industries’ Group

The Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) has inaugurated the Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries (NCSI), with strong support of private sector market operators, regulators and competent authorities.

According to its official mandate, the NCSI will function as a lobby group to support trade in services; validate services priorities for Nigeria; and, formulate inputs and advice on positions for Nigeria in domestic, regional, continental and multilateral trade negotiations.

The Coalition will also identify measures for improving Nigeria’s competitiveness for Trade in Services and shall act as the private sector and Competent Authority foundation to support the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, NOTN, in all negotiations, with data, advice and Stakeholder positions for Trade in Services.

In his opening remarks at the inauguration event, Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator and Director General, NOTN, Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, said: The Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries was an overdue necessity to re-balance the national dialogue and exchange of views on trade and economic policy matters relevant to diversification, and accelerating recovery and growth.   

 “At the regional level, in ECOWAS there was no Schedule for Specific Commitments on Trade in Services.  This was a gap that required urgent filling, more so because services accounted for approximately 54 percent of the Nigerian economy.

“Trade in Services was not only the fastest-growing area of the domestic but also the global economy.  Services would contribute to the diversification and re-balancing of the Nigerian Economy”, he added.

The inauguration of the NCSI commenced the process of examining an updated and 21st Century Draft Schedule of Specific Commitments for Trade in Services that would signal Nigeria as pro-trade and business, pro-investment, development- and, rules-based. Participants at the inaugural meeting welcomed the establishment of the NCIS as a positive and overdue development in a critical but undervalued sector of the economy.

Membership of the Coalition will include representatives of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, and the Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture.

Others are, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, Nurses and Midwives Association of Nigeria, Movie Producers Association of Nigeria, Association of Movie and Film Producers of Nigeria, and other individual operators as would be identified.

The regulatory ministries and agencies are, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Federal Ministry of Health, and Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment.

Other supervisory ministries and agencies include Federal Ministry Education, Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigeria Shippers Council, Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Communication Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, and other government agencies as may be determined by government.

The inauguration event was attended by regulators, organized private sector and services industry operators.  In the evolving structure, the NCSI will be jointly coordinated by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and chaired by the director-general of the NOTN.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest report on sectoral contributions to the nation’s GDP indicated that the Services Sector contributed 54.3 percent to Nigeria’s GDP.

In the Economic Recovery Growth Plan, ERGP, the role of the Services sector in Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth was prioritized around four Service sectors namely, telecommunication; information and communication technology; tourism; as well as financial and creative industries.

Analysts believe that the inauguration of the NCIS is expected to enhance the performances of these sectors and increase their contributions to the GDP growth rate.

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