Nigeria shares 0.33 per cent of world trade, 19 per cent of African trade ― WTO DG

• To provide technical assistance for the country

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has revealed that Nigeria has shares of 0.33 per cent in world trade and holds 19 per cent shares in African trade.

Speaking, on Monday, in Abuja, while on a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Director-General of WTO, Dr Ngozi Iweala, said Nigeria was active at the world trade in the area of agriculture.

“Nigeria is very active in agriculture bearing in mind that we have a diversified economy in Nigeria, where agriculture is extremely important even though we don’t have a diversified source of revenue but we have a diversified economy.

“Trade negotiations on agricultural issues are very important for us and we are very active there.

‘We are also active in the joint statement initiatives, Nigeria is a leader on issues of e-commerce services, domestic regulations, investment facilitation, micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and women in trade.

“Nigeria is active on all these issues because they are very important for our economy and that is the main thing I want to say today and the reason why we are here.”

Dr Iweala noted that “Nigeria’s share in world trade is 0.33 per cent, this is a small fraction of what we could do, our share in Africa trade is 19 per cent which is below our share of Africa’s GDP.

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‘”This means we must step up our action on the economy, we must do better and harder in several ways, the reason we are concerned about that is because of our youth, the majority of our population are young people who are waiting for jobs and we are here for them.

“Trade can be instrumental if we can add more value to our products, trade can be instrumental if we try to improve on our infrastructure to deliver trade.

“Nigeria needs to focus on adding value on transitioning, we are an oil and gas-based economy and that has sustained us and still will. But the world is moving away from fossil fuel.

In Agriculture, we have a lot we can do. Let’s try to identify those areas there are potentials and turn our economy in that direction,” the DG stated.

She said: “The WTO is about supporting investment’s and supporting infrastructure both in technical assistance and getting other organisations, it’s not a Financial institution but it works with Financial institutions.

“It is one of the economic institutions that was created with the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund, IMF. These are three powerful institutions that working together can deliver a lot, we intend to draw on them to put together the kind of support needed for Nigeria,” Iweala stated.

“Nigeria is 103 out of 167 counties in logistics and that means we have a long way to go, for me, that is a potential area we can invest to improve our logistics so we can take advantage of trade within the Africa Continental Free trade Area.

‘We have difficulty and challenges with our Economy, we have to move fast but we have potential to do so much better and trade is a very strong part of that story” she said.

Dr Ngozi promises the Nigerian government that “We are ready to work with you on the issue of technical assistance, there are various forms that we could discuss and we need to receive a request from you for some of these assistances.”

While welcoming the WTO DG to Nigeria, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Otunba Adebayo, stated that “I wish to draw your attention to our capacity difficulties which continue to undermine our effective participation in the multilateral trading system.

“While we acknowledge with thanks the capacity building efforts of WTO around the training of officers on international trade governance, the need for more targeted Technical Assistance from the WTO cannot be overemphasized,” the Minister stated.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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