Govt sends new trade policy bill to the National Assembly

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has sent a new trade policy bill to the National Assembly that will address all the loopholes existing in the extant laws to cater for Nigeria's import and export trade.

Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, who was represented by his Special Assistant, David Bigila, made this disclosure at the maiden National Trade Compliance summit in Lagos, on Tuesday, said government was concerned about the absence of a workable functional trade compliance, which has resulted to revenue losses to the country.

Besides, the inability of the previous governments to address the trade compliance issue has worsen the nation's import and export trade.

He said government agencies needed to work in harmony, especially as it relates to revenue generation and collection for the country.

According to him, for the country to enjoy international recognition, government must endeavour to tame the monster of 'unethical business practices, corruption and trade violation', which have contributed in no small measure in stifling development as a nation and slowing down economic transformation reforms.

'We are pushing for more robust legislation at the National Assembly to address all loopholes existing in our extant laws while our new trade policy also caters for many previous concerns,' Ortom said.

According to the minister, Mr. President and his ministry are already looking inward at changing the country's way of doing business globally, adding that 'this administration is very desirous of improving the lives of Nigerians business within our shores to gain international acceptance.

'Internationally, this has rubbed off poorly on our image in global markets as reputable investors and investment groups have shown apathy towards the Nigerian business space due to the perception that a weak trade compliance regime frustrates genuine businesses trying to operate in the country.'

He said the Federal Government may have been losing billions of Naira to inappropriate trade compliance due to the non-harmonisation of working arrangements among the various government agencies responsible for collection of taxes and royalties in the country.