FG Targets 2025 to Implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has said it was doing everything within its power to implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement by 2025.
This was disclosed by Mr Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who also said Nigeria was well-prepared to do this with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as policies and initiatives are being implemented by the central government.
Mr Adebayo made this known at the Second Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference and Single Country Exhibition on Tuesday in Lagos. He further said the implementation of the AfCFTA would redefine trade relations within African states and beyond.
He said it creates a single market for goods and services across the 54 countries of Africa with a collective population of 1.2 billion people and a market worth $3.4 trillion.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria is well prepared for AfCFTA. A number of measures have been implemented through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
“It includes the Finance Act of 2020 which took effect on January 1, 2021,” Mr Adebayo said.
He said the amendments to the Act provide additional incentives to encourage businesses and purposeful investments in the country.
According to him, Nigeria is also one of the 14 African countries that have developed an online investment guide stylised iGuide Nigeria.
Mr Adebayo said the iGuide Nigeria provides investors with up to date information regarding processes and procedures as well as the basic cost of setting up businesses in the country.
He said the automation of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had also accelerated the clearance of goods while the government was working on bringing the infrastructure gaps.
The minister said the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) had also developed a Book of States which highlight the investment potential and opportunities of the various states of the federation.
“As a country, our goal is to completely implement the World Trade Organisation trade facilitation agreement by 2025,” he said.
Also, Mr Adeshina Emmanuel, Director, Investment Promotion, NIPC, said Nigeria was Africa’s biggest economy with a population of over 200 million people.
Mr Emmanuel said that Nigeria is the ideal gateway economy for leveraging the AfCFTA.
“Nigeria is more than ready than most African economies. The AfCFTA will expand the market for Nigerian goods and services, creating jobs and economic growth,” he noted.
He said that many Nigerian companies, particularly in the service sector, had a long developed capacity to serve the rest of Africa which would be further boosted by the AfCFTA.