Nigeria, Germany strengthen economic ties through trade facilitation

Olusegun Aganga 115 January 2014, Lagos – Nigeria and the Federal Republic of Germany are set to partner on trade facilitation and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs, development as part of efforts to strengthen the already existing economic ties between the two countries.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, confirmed this after a meeting with the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dorothee Janetzke-Wenzkel and the Country Director, German Cooperation, GIZ, Dr. Thomas Kirsch, in Abuja.

Aganga said his ministry would work together with the German government to boost industrial skills development and improve access to finance for MSMEs across the country, in line with the focus of the National Enterprises Development Programme, NEDEP.

“The meeting with the German Ambassador, which dwelt on a number of growth issues, was a fruitful one. Nigeria has always had a strong economic and trade relationship with Germany. They have been very helpful and played active roles in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, such as the power sector where we have a large number of German companies.

“But specifically, today’s meeting focused on trade facilitation in terms of how we can partner to make it cheaper and quicker to export goods from Nigeria to other African countries by removing the barriers that impede trade. What the German government has done is to design an Information and Communications Technology system that will help improve the non-trade barriers, which cause delay in movement of goods and also the cost and time of doing business in Nigeria. So, we are collaborating on how we can improve trade facilitation within the region,” he said.

The minister further stated: “Another area where we will be working together, which is very important to us, is the area of skills development. They have one of the most robust internship programmes which is highly regarded and respected worldwide. The idea is to see how they can work with the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, in the area of skills development. The last area we talked about was access to finance for Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, to see how they can support the National Enterprise Development Programme. I am very optimistic that we will get a lot out of this collaboration.”

Also speaking after the meeting, the German Ambassador to Nigeria said Germany was ready to work with Nigeria to improve the ease of doing business and boost skills acquisition among Nigerians. She said: “The basis of the meeting with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, was to find out how much Germany is doing in terms of partnering with Nigeria on trade issues. We discussed the Bi-National Commission which Nigeria has with Germany, focusing particularly on energy but also on economic issues as a whole.

“Germany is also partnering Nigeria on vocational training in order to boost industrial skills acquisition and bridge skills gap in Nigeria. Most times, people don’t get the jobs because they lack the skills even when the jobs are there. We want more Nigerians to be trained so that they can use their skills to work. We also discussed specific projects that the German International Company for Co-operation in Nigeria is doing. We have looked at some businesses coming up which will be focusing on the informal sector of the Nigerian economy.”

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