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Nigeria Must Reduce Import Dependence to Grow Economy, Says Hassan Bello

Former Executive/ Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Barrister Hassan Bello has affirmed that if Nigeria depends on imports alone, its economy will perish.

He made the affirmation at the first edition of City Business News Summit on 8th November 2023 in Lagos themed ” Repositioning Nigerian Economy: 2023 and Beyond”.

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Barr. Bello established the fact that Nigeria is an import dependent economy and it has to be realigned for greater effectiveness through diversification.

” Nigeria’s opportunities are limitless, it is a frontier but it is a monoproduct economy that is majorly dependent on one item.Dependency on oil based economy is vulnerable.We need to get involved in diversification and declare space of opportunity for the country.If we involve in trade, our economy will be significantly different”.

He further stated that Nigeria economy cannot benefit from African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) until the transportation infrastructure is efficient as it is the enabler of the economy.Therefore, he urged the government to put in deliberate effort to make transportation drive the economy.

” When transportation system is efficient, it provides economic and social opportunities that result in positive multiplied effects such as better accessibility to market and additional investment.We should strive to get the connection between economy and transportation”.

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In his keynote address, Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive officer, Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Mr Oscar Onyema who was represented by Group Chief Strategy & Investment Officer (NGX) , Mr Tony Idugboe emphasized the importance and role of Capital Market in Nigerian economy.

” One of the key areas that could boost the economy as well as create enormous opportunities for investors is the Capital Market.It serves as a platform for government and businesses to access funds from a broad range of investors, enabling them to expand, innovate and create new job opportunities”.

“Investing in the Capital Market gives the nation an opportunity to unlock new avenues for economic growth and development”.

Mr Onyema assured that soon the Capital Market will contribute more to key sectors in the nation.

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” In the coming years, Capital Markets will play an even bigger role by facilitating the mobilization of more private capital into key sectors such as energy, infrastructure, housing, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and sustainable finance”.

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In Corroboration to Barr Bello’s points, Pharm Khadijat Sheidu-Shabi , Chairperson, Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) Nigeria and General Manager, Health, Safety and Environment Department of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said in order to benefit from AFCTA, Nigeria needs to improve in world trade.

” We need to key into AFCTA and it’s economical benefits.We are just 2% of the world trade.We need to look inwards, reposition ourselves to have standard products for export and stop being dependent on importation”.

” The NPA is meeting all the port Community System where all government agencies within the port will meet an agreement so that our ports will be more competitive” she added.

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