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THE NEED FOR PARLIAMENTARY INTERVENTION ON NIGERIA TRADE POLICY

(Political Science)

THE NEED FOR PARLIAMENTARY INTERVENTION ON NIGERIA TRADE POLICY

ABSTRACT

This work is an attempt to explore the need for parliamentary involvement in the formulation and implementation of trade policy. The reason is because trade policy over the years in Nigeria, appears to be in the hands of Bureaucrats and Technocrats in various ministries who pursue their selfish interest without much being achieved in terms of fostering the country trading relationship.

Several visits were made to National Assembly and Federal Ministry of Trade and Commerce to ascertain the extent trade policy revolves around their agenda and to verify whether trade policy is taken seriously.

The research methodology employed was mainly descriptive survey technique which involves describing the materials collected in a contextual and systematic manner.

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

CHAPTER ONE

 

1.0

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1

Background of the Study……

 

1.2

Statement of the Problem……………………

 

1.3

Objective of the Study………………………

 

1.4

Significance of the Study…………………….

 

1.5

Scope and Limitation of the Study…………..

 

1.6

Literature Review……………………………

 

1.7

Hypothesis…………………………………..

 

1.8

Definition of key concepts…………………..

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

2.1

Meaning of trade Policy ………………..

 

2.2

Nature of Trade Policy

………………..

 

2.3

Formal Trade Policy Making Process in Nigeria..

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

 

3.1

Problems of Nigerias trade policies…………..

 

3.2

Trade Policy And Mainstreaming:………….…

 

3.2

Macroeconomic Challenges …………………...

 

 3.2      Nigeria Trade Registration ……………………….    

 3.3      Trade Policy objectives and development……..   

 3.4  The Legislative Audit of Trade Policies………… 

 CHAPTER FOUR

 

4.1      Necessity of Parliamentary Intervention

 on Trade Policy……………………………………..    

 4.2      Trade Tariff and Waivers………………………….    

 4.3      Nigeria’s Regional Position……………………….    

 4.4  The WTO negotiations……………………………

 

 4.5      Review of Nigeria’s trade agreement Archive….    

 4.6      Merger of trade and Industry Ministries …………  

4.7      Upholding the “Commerce 44” Scheme………….  

 4.8      Review of presidential Commodity initiatives…..  

 4.9      Mainstreaming trade in National Development ….

CHAPTER FIVE

 

5.1      Summary and Conclusion………………………..   

5.2     Recommendation………………………………

 Bibliography ……………………………………

CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

Legitimate Trade was encouraged after the abolition of the slave trade which was brought about by the great efforts of the British government to end the nefarious traffic which led to her ceding the slave-market fortress, Island of Lagos to the British Crown in 1861.

In 1886, the Royal Niger Company which was the amalgamation of all the rival trading companies in the Niger Basin was given a Charter by the British government. Between 1886 and 1900, the Royal Niger Company effectively administered, made Treaties and maintained peace and order in the areas they traded. Trading continued to grow and expand gradually (Ukaoha 2009).

In the immediate post –world war II period, Nigeria benefited from a favourable trade balance. The principal exports were agricultural commodities thus,

peanuts and cotton from the Northern Region, Palm products from the Eastern Region and Cocoa from the Western Region. Marketing boards though regionally based were established to handle these exports and to react to price fluctuations in the world market (CBN 1980). During the 1950s, the marketing boards accumulated considerable surpluses.

Initially, imports lagged behind exports, although, by mid 1950s imports began to catch up with exports and the surpluses decreased. Expansion in the non-agricultural sectors require large imports of machinery, transport equipment and eventually, intermediate materials for industry. In time, there also were increased administrative costs to be met(CBN 1980) Although per capita income in the country as a whole remained low by international standards, rising incomes among salaried personnel and burgeoning urbanization expanded consumer demand for imported goods (Ukaoha 2009).

However, by the act of the British Parliament, Nigeria became an Independent Country within The Common Wealth on October 1st, 1960.

She later became a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). In October 2005, she joined other members of the ECOWAS in adopting a Common External Tariff (CET). The adoption of CET was to support the goal of deep economic integration throughout the West Africa. CET was indented to serve as the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) Tariff that ECOWAS member states can apply to third countries and also to non-preferential product traded with the ECOWAS region.

Although ECOWAS Countries initially agreed to liberalize intra-regional trade by 2000, progress was very very slow. In the World Trade Organization (WTO), Nigeria has been a member right from inception. Nigeria also participates in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which is an important trade negotiations currently being negotiated between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries on one hand and the European Union (EU) on the other hand.

To harness free flow of trade within and outside the nation and to maintain external economic linkages, Nigeria has been taking decisions and formulating policies out of which Trade Policy is the most concern of this work.

Precisely the imperative of parliamentary interventions on Trade Policy (Ukaoha 2009).

1.2     STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The concept of development, which should inform trade, and which focuses on human beings as the means, objects and ends of developmental activities with regard to people participating in their own development, determining their priorities and setting the process, ground rules and substance of development, has constantly been disregarded. What obtains in Nigeria is that a few technocrats are usually handpicked to write trade policies and sign international agreements without recourse to the actors/operators who are involved in the pains and gains of day-to-day business activities.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s policy arena is characterized by a significant presence of lobbyists who support various vested interests. Major business associations in Nigeria have merged into Organization of private Sectors (OPS) and each association has some degree of in-house research capacity with a research division that usually consists of two or three employees.

In spite of the fact that Nigeria has been a member of the WTO right from inception, till date, the country has nothing to show for it. The need to correct the misnomers in the formulation and implementation of trade policy of Nigeria introduces the necessity of legislative intervention on trade in Nigeria.

1.3     OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to explore into the state of trade policy in Nigeria. To explore trade policy formulation and its implementation, the actors and non-actors in the policy arena and to push for the parliament to intervene in the trade policy on a more effective and consistent way.

 1.4     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study is significant in a number of ways which include the following:-

i.            By intervening in trade policy, the National Assembly will ensure that policies that relate to trade are not averse with the laws of the country.

ii.          The policies are more likely to be pro-poor and indeed seeks to protect the livelihoods of citizens, rather than bureaucrats and technocrats.

iii.        The policies are fair, just and equitable both in formulation and implementation and therefore benefits Nigerians as a whole rather than a few.

iv.         The policies are taken in consideration of local realities and,

v.           The policies are in tandem with the overall development strategy of the country and will further benefit researchers, development scholars and experts who may wish to refer to this work.

 1.5     SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study is limited to the reasons for parliamentary intervention in trade policy. The role which the law-makers should play in the trade policy formulation and implementation so that the policy will favour the citizens more.

 

In the course of carrying out the research, certain constraints were experienced. They include high cost

of traveling and internet inquires to obtain reliable data on Trade and Commerce issues.

1.6     LITERATURE REVIEW

The essence of literature review is to carefully analyze relevant materials in the area of research investigation in order to fill critical academic gaps that will ultimately provide useful insights for further investigation.

For this regard, Trade policy is a very important area not only in Economics but also in International economic relations as well as political science and public policy. This point has often been made repeatedly by World Bank (1994,2002) and IMF (2001) in various researches to show the link between trade and development. These multi-lateral financial organizations have continued to draw attention to the need for developing countries to take trade policy seriously and to properly link it with other critical issues of public policy and development. However, over the years, African Countries including Nigeria

have tended to treat the issue of trade with levity or to regard it as purely bureaucratic and technocratic matter that ends up in various shelves in trade and commerce ministries.

To draw closer and consistent attention to this problem particularly in Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) with headquarter in Abuja, has done exceedingly well in terms of drawing attention to the various problems and challenges that revolves around trade in Nigeria. Therefore NANTS seeks to encourage and improve the interlink between market access and production of goods and services.

The vision of NANTS is to advance trade beyond buying and selling to a vehicle for Social justice, human rights, sustainable development and poverty reduction. Therefore NANTS is promoting trade and Economic advancement and championing the rights and cause of the Entrepreneur through strategic programes and policy intervention. To do this effectively, NANTS publishes a monthly trade policy journal that cuts across all issues of trade both locally and internationally . NANTS also have continued to organize countless seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences regarding issues of trade and commerce. To this extent, the African development trade (2007) have come to recognize and appreciate the role NANTS have played and continue to play with regards to trade. The African Development Bank (ADB) has been in the forefront of championing closer regional trade and development in Africa as well as call for the need to take trade policy more seriously by African Countries (ADB, 2007). 

Alesina (2007) has equally drawn attention to the relationship between trade policy and Economic growth in poor countries. According to him, Countries with tidier trade policies tend to benefit more than Countries with inconsistent and ambiguous trade policy.

Using experiences of Africa and Latin America, he, tried to show that Latin American countries have more consistent and Articulate trade policy and therefore benefit more from trade than Africa.

Dickson (1999) has equally analyzed the complex political problems that affects trade with Special reference to sub-Saharan African Countries. According to him, instability in all spheres of life has complicated the regions trading environment. Dickson pointed out that political instability and conflict have more than any other factor created a very unfavourable economic and trading environment and may likely continue to do so in the future because of the unrelenting struggle for power across the region. The same view is shared by Barro (1999) and Tellos (2005) in their respective analysis of Economic and trade policy in the continent. To them, poor Economic and trade policy continued to contribute to acute poverty fuelled by high level of instability and corruption particularly in sub-Sahara region. Barros went further to argue that poor and inconsistent economic policy cannot be separated from poor trade policy bearing in mind that they work hand in hand in the sense that most African Countries that have generally low level of economic growth and development often end up with very weak and inconsistent trade policy formulation and implementation.

The issue of trade policy and globalization was carefully examined by Azurri (2007) where he argued rightly that the impact of Globalization has virtually redefined the nature and dynamics of international trade in ways we never imagined and that each country needs to drastically restructure and remodel their respective trade policies to suit the changing needs of globalization and information technology.

In a series of trade policy publications, the National Association of Nigeria Traders (NANTS) through its trade policy monitor, a monthly publication has continued to raise very vital issues that affects trade in the Country. These issue ranges from Bilateral and multi-lateral agreements to case studies of key trade problems and how it can be redressed. (See for example, Oyejide and Olimlola, 2009).

However, the need to press more closely on how Africa will improve on its trade policy has not been properly addressed by scholars and policy makers. Outside the World Trade Organization (WTO 2008) that drew attention for parliamentary involvement in the area of international trade, very little has been done in relation to Nigeria regaining more legislative involvement on the country’s trade. This explains why this research is vital when it comes to raising key issues in the area of national assembly intervention and possible involvement regarding Trade policy formulation which all along has been in the hands of bureaucrats and technocrat to the detriment of the country over the years.

 

1.7     HYPOTHESIS

This study is predicted on the following hypothesis:-

i.            Trade policy in Nigeria has not been very effective due to non involvement of the Parliament.

ii.          The nations unattractive, unpredictable and reliable trade environment is an impediment to effective and consistent trade policy..

 

iii.        Policies, decisions and various agreements on trade are not isolated from the overall legislative frame work.

1.8     DEFINITION OF KEY CONCEPTS

E.P.A. (Economic Partnership Agreement) an important trade negotiation between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries on one hand and the (EU) European Union on the other hand and which seeks to promote more equitable trading relationship.

W.T.O. (World Trade Organization) this is an Organization that acts as a clearing house for virtually all the countries that are involved in trade. The headquarters is in New York.

N.T.N. (Nigeria Trade Network) recently conceived as advocacy platform for civil society organizations and an organized Private sector on trade and investment issues.

C.E.T. (Common External Tariff) this is intended to serve as the most-favoured nation tariff.

Policy: This means plan of action!!. Statement of aims and ideas, especially one made by government, political party etc. Going by the dictionary definition, the word Policy Connotes planned, purposive direction for doing something.

 

Policy, thus involved decisions and choice., it implies that some alternatives from which choice is made do exist.

Trade, ordinarily denotes the activity of buying and selling or of exchanging goods and services between people or Countries.

 

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