Stakeholders hail proposed trade intelligence unit

The proposed National Trade Intelligence Unit (NIU) will boost government and private sectors’ business strategic planning, experts have said.

When established, they said, the unit will form a meeting point for cross-fertilization of ideas across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the promotion of trade-related businesses.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, said there are plans to inaugurate the National Trade Intelligence Unit in collaboration with other MDAs such as the Ministry of Commerce, Innovation and Digital Economy; the Nigerian Customs Service; Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Uzoka-Anite disclosed that the aim was to predict global market trends and enhance the country’s local and global trading capacities.

She stressed that TIU would be the national coordination and focal point for all trade-related data and information in Nigeria.

Speaking on the development, the Director-General of Abuja Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Agabaidu Jideani, said the unit would be vital in enhancing effective decision-making and strategic planning both for the government and the business community.

Jideani highlighted the desirability of the unit, saying it would provide market insight by gathering, analysing and disseminating vital information about global markets and local markets, indicating emerging trends, consumer preferences and competitor’s activities would help businesses and policymakers make informed decisions.

According to him, such a unit, if properly utilised, would also help in driving foreign direct investments (FDIs), promote economic growth and enhance job creation opportunities by providing potential investors with insights into market opportunities, regulatory frameworks and investment climate assessments.

On his part, Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella said the unit would serve as a centre for advertising Nigeria’s products as well as help to collate data on goods and services.

The economist at the Bisi Onabanjo University Ago-Iwoye explained that such collaboration would make it easy for the coordinating ministry to get information directly from each MDA on what they must sell to the world and reach an agreement on the mode and timing of advertisement.

Also, an economist with Trading, Finance and Investments Limited, Dr Chijioke Ekechukwu, noted that as much as the unit is important, if not poorly funded and the right people put in the right places, it may end like any other government’s ministry or agency where things may not go well as expected.

“So, let the right people and qualified people take charge and they will quickly bring back what is expected of them in terms of reports and recommendations for the government to quickly work on as soon as possible’’

“This is because, if the unit makes recommendations and government fails to act on them as quickly as possible, very soon, they get tired and they may not do much,” he said.

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