Human rights lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba has disagreed with the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over the latter advice to Nigeria to continue to be import dependent.
Agbakoba, in a statement on Saturday, said his admiration for Okonjo-Iweala is huge “but to advice us to continue to be import dependent is not correct policy advise at this time.”
He said Nigeria has no current Trade policy and that Okonjo-Iweala seemed to promote liberal and open borders.
“The problem is that we will remain consumers of imported products and cannot develop our economy to boost production and give jobs to the over 25 million unemployed.
“While we must balance import policy with local production policy, we must heed the warning of wise economists that we cannot develop unless our trade policy is designed to promote local industries.
“I hesitate to compliment Trump’s America First trade policy but Trump understood the need to protect the US by discouraging over dependence on imports,” he said.
According to Agbakoba, Nigeria produced crude but imported petrol, produced cocoa but imported cocoa powder.
“We have Tin, Gold and Iron but import the finished products in billions! We closed our Benin border to imports and made 12 billion a day internally. It was a strong trade policy to produce rice locally that has made us near self sufficient.
“Now, we are growing tomatoes, corn, beans, etc because we are discouraging imports. Nigerians be wise.
“We must support ‘Made in Nigeria’. I propose we adopt a new trade policy with strong trade laws to protect our ailing economy. Nigeria will be transformed by a Made in Nigeria Trade Policy,” he advised.
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