Nigeria’s annual e-commerce sales, now estimated at around 13 billion U.S. dollars, are expected to reach 75 billion dollars by 2025, according to a senior official.
Speaking at the opening of a national e-commerce roundtable in Abuja on Tuesday, Evelyn Ngige, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, said e-commerce is expected to change business outlook in the post COVID-19 economy, as the government focuses on the development of the non-oil sector to generate employment and sustainable revenue earnings.
Ngige said the ministry is “passionate” about the growing investment opportunities in the e-commerce value chain, which are capable of contributing significantly to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“Interestingly, e-commerce provides an alternative to sustain businesses and preserve millions of jobs in the face of the COVID-19 challenge,” she said.
“For instance, in China, e-commerce companies played a key role in the supply of food and other essential commodities to residents of Wuhan during the lockdown period in 2020,” she said.
In addition, Amazon, a U.S.-based company, as a leading e-commerce company in the world, expanded and employed an additional 175,000 new workers during the period due to increasing online demand for goods and services, according to Ngige.
The permanent secretary said the roundtable would widen its scope to cover emerging issues in the e-commerce landscape and their implications for Nigeria, particularly relating to operational issues, regulatory framework, and other key enablers.
She enjoined all to be forthcoming with ideas to guide policymakers, regulators, and key players in the e-commerce ecosystem.
Hameed Ali, comptroller general of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said at the same event that the e-commerce market has been thriving and collaboration is important to enhance the sector in the country.
Ali said the NCS has been collaborating with the ministry and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on standards to improve the e-commerce market in Nigeria, especially in the areas of data collection and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
However, Nigerian experts have been quoted by local media as saying that in spite of growing opportunities in the e-commerce sub-sector, the country has not been able to fully explore its enormous potential due to inadequate investment in its value chain.
They said inadequate information on the opportunities in the sector and the inability of the government to provide the required enabling environment could also be contributory factors. Enditem