Agency engages stakeholders in Nigeria’s services sector on economic diversification, employment

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In an attempt to harness the potential of the Nigerian services sector for economic diversification, employment and foreign trade, stakeholders in the country’s services sector and non-oil exporters converged Thursday, December 3, 2020, for a roundtable on the services industry.

Traditionally, less emphasis has been placed on the services sector in cross-border trade. However, this attitude is fast changing across developing countries, including Nigeria, as they are fast gaining better understanding of the crucial roles of services in economic diversification, growth of other sectors and efficient functioning of the overall economy.

Earlier, Dr. Titilola Akindeinde, PDF Bridge Programme Manager, in a statement had said: “The services sector has emerged as the highest contributor to the national output in the last decade and offers great potential to drive the diversification agenda of the government.”

Akindeinde stated that bearing in mind that this sector possesses immense capacity to absorb a large proportion of unemployed youths and help to create gender parity in exploiting economic opportunities, it has become imperative that Nigeria should explore ways to expand its export of services.

According to PDF Bridge, the organisation commissioned a study under its predecessor programme to analyse the potential of Nigeria’s services sector for economic diversification, employment and foreign trade.

The PDF Bridge Programme Manager disclosed that the study came up with actionable recommendations that, if implemented, will help to shape government policies to promote the sector.

The study was part of the programme’s contribution to technical support to the Nigerian Government’s priority areas on diversification of the economy and reforming the business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to thrive sustainably, said she.

Akindeinde noted that “this roundtable with the theme, ‘Analysis of Potentials of Nigeria’s Services Sector for Economic Diversification, Employment and Foreign Trade’, will critically dissect the issues highlighted in the study with a view to developing an action plan that will ensure adequate attention is given to the services export sector.

“We are looking forward to having robust discussions with the invited participants drawn from both the private and public sectors.”

According to her, the roundtable seeks to engage relevant public and private sectors stakeholders on how best to apply the rich content and recommendations from the PDF supported study, “Analysis of Potentials of Nigeria’s Services Sector for Economic Diversification, Employment and Foreign Trade”, in order to promote diversification and non-oil sector development in the country.

Barr. Nkiru Joy Okpala, National Coordinator for Nigerian Network of Women Exporters of Services, said: “Service Sector is, indeed, a huge catalyst for growth and Service Export is the fastest growing sector in the global economy.

“Even the manufacturing, agricultural, and other sectors cannot exist nor be in the export market effectively without interconnecting with the service sector.”

The barrister stated it, therefore, becomes imperative that for us to grow the economy and drive the nation out of recession once again.

Service export should be one roadmap to enhance this, she added.

Okpala further remarked: “Indeed, services constitute the most dynamic area of national growth and sustenance.

“It creates high turnover of employment, offering significant opportunities both in terms of increased exports and at enhancing competitiveness, stimulating economic development and reducing poverty.”

Dr. Olumuyiwa Alaba, Bridge Trade Policy Expert, stated that services now contribute the highest proportion of the overall domestic activities and economic growth moving from less than 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the 1990s to 50.79 percent of the GDP in

According to Dr. Alaba, despite this huge possibility, the sector contributes only a little to Nigeria’s basket of external trade.

This development shows that there is the need to translate the huge potential of the services sector to major foreign exchange earner by paying adequate attention to the sector, he said.

Alaba said this roundtable could not have come at a better time.

“I look forward to the deliberations, he added.

The PDF Bridge Programme is a 14-month programme that provides direct technical support to the Federal Government of Nigeria, its agencies and independent regulators in key economic sectors.

It enhances technical expertise within the public sector, contributing to inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

The programme identifies and works with champions of change, and supports them to conceptualise, design and drive important policy and regulatory reforms that strengthen public planning, budgeting and policies for the improved delivery of public goods and services to citizens.

It is part of the wider DFID-funded ‘Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL)’ programme, a five-year public sector accountability programme which is due to end on April 30, 2021.

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