The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, has urged all relevant stakeholders in West Africa to collaborate and explore all areas of partnership to optimize productivity.
Tuggar, represented by Amb. Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Economic Trade and Investment department (ETID), made the call at a maiden round table with Cote D’Ivoire on Saturday in Abuja.
The business round table and exhibition was organized by the Federal Government in partnership with the Organized Private Sector (OPS).
The minister said it was imperative to harmonize all regulations that ECOWAS had been working on to enhance productivity in the sub region.
“We need to talk to ourselves, we also need to have synergy among ourselves.
“If we are going to have productivity, then we must harmonize all regulations.
“ECOWAS has been working on ETLs, but it’s really not working. We must make it to work.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade is here. Yet our industries are not keyed into it. We need to get Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN) to be in tandem with NACCIMA.
“We need to get the Ministry of Trade, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work together in the area of investment and economic diplomacy.
“The Foreign ministry, Ministry of Industry and all other relevant ministries must work together to increase productivity,” he said.
He said Federal Government had to take a deliberate policy to train Nigerians in other foreign languages particularly because Nigeria was surrounded by different languages and could not afford to be on the average.
He said Nigeria needed to work on value addition with Cote D’Ivoire, particularly in the products like cashew and cocoa as both countries produce almost the same thing.
Mr. Abre Martin, Counselor Trade Economic Affairs, Embassy of Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, said his country was pleased to partner with various ministries in Nigeria to foster growth and development.
He said that Cote D’Ivoire looked forward to doing more meaningful business and investment with Nigeria.
Mr Ezekwesili Nnam, Executive Director Trade, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry said
the exhibition was to bring the biggest economy on the Anglophone and Francophone side to discuss and expand trade.
He said that through the meetings West African countries could forge a stronger trading negotiation and mediation protocol.
“So, take for instance, Cote D’Ivoire has a national refinery, Nigeria is a major oil producer, this synergy can lead to a lot of good for both countries.”
Dr. Nura Bello, Zonal Vice President, Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprise (NASME) said Federal Government should create an enabling environment to ease trade among west African countries.
He said to achieve greater development, foreign investors as well as indigenous investors must invest in the local manufacturing sector.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some items displayed for the exhibition includes locally made fabrics , incense, tea, shoes and bags.
Hajiya Zarah Sambo an exhibitor said sales was slow but was optimistic of a greater outcome.
She said her products, different types of incense were made in Nigeria from raw materials to the finished products.
Mr Kabir Umar also displayed a multi purpose sorting and washing machine for agro products.
He said the machine was manufactured in Nigeria with locally made material and he was hoping on getting investors to enable him expand and develop.