The Federal Government has urged industry and trade stakeholders to evolve an implementable strategy to harness economic potentials of e-commerce in commodity trade for both domestic and cross border markets.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, made the call at a two-day E-commerce Roundtable Session on Tuesday in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by the ministry’s Commodity and Export Department (CED) in collaboration with the Trade Department.
The roundtable aimed at harvesting views from industry players and stakeholders on how to grow Nigerian economy through developing the e-commerce ecosystem to enhance market access for non-oil commodities.
Adebayo said that e-commerce was evolving and the issues were cross-cutting in nature, therefore, there was a need for healthy collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the e-commerce ecosystem.
In this regard, he said the government was building a partnership with banks, non-governmental and research organisations and donor agencies to mitigate challenges, currently affecting entrepreneurs and meet funding needs to take local businesses to the next level.
“As Nigeria is joining other African nations in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), there is a need for robust and sustained engagement in all spheres especially on how to leverage e-commerce to benefit from the agreement.
“The new face of commodity distribution is e-commerce; in spite of the evolving positive trends of the market globally Nigeria has not harnessed its inherent opportunities largely due to inadequate investment in the e-commerce value chain.
“In this regard, the government has identified e-commerce as a major priority programme that would play a critical role in the promotion of commodity trade especially with the current realities of the unprecedented global pandemic,’’ he said.
The minister noted that the Federal Government at all levels was committed to drive initiatives of e-commerce strategy development in line with the Federal Government’s post COVID-19 recovery plan.
According to him, it is encouraging that stakeholders along various value chains are deepening conversations that will promote the reality that unquantifiable wealth lies within this very important sector.
He, therefore, said that aggressive financing and investment in the sector was critical to advance the quest for sustainable development in Nigeria.
He urged the stakeholders to come up with appropriate recommendations and ways forward for ecommerce strategy for non-oil commodity development.
“This, no doubt will stimulate trade across borders which would chart a sustainable course towards food security and increased productivity, which are ingredients for employment generation, wealth creation and foreign exchange earnings for all countries,” he noted.
Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, said due to the effect of the global pandemic which affected major economic activities, Nigeria needed to diversify its economy towards the non-oil sector.
Sani-Gwarzo, represented by Mr Suleiman Audu, Director, Commodities and Export Department of the ministry, emphasized the need to deepen discussion within the public space and sustain engagement with stakeholders for maximum impact.
The roundtable has its theme as “Understanding Nigeria E-commerce Ecosystem: Contemporary Issues and Way Forward’’.