Ministry pledges support for WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation




The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on Monday pledged to provide the needed support for the successful implementation of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TRA).

Mrs Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment made the pledge when the National Trade Facilitation Committee visited her in Abuja.

She said there was the need to engage heads of relevant agencies with a view to contributing their quota to ensure full implementation of the agreement.

Earlier, the Acting Chairman of the Committee, Mr Aliyu Abubakar said that full implementation of the agreement became imperative in view of the need for Nigeria to join other signatories to the agreement to simplify trade procedures.

According to Abubakar, all members of WTO will simplify their trade procedures and there will be reduction of tariff and non-tariff arrears which will give market access to our traders.

“It will actually help us in terms of diversification of our economy.

“This will also promote economic growth and development because Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) operators will be able to access foreign markets through the trade facilitation that simplifies processes and procedures.

“So there is a window for our SMEs and our markets and there is also reduction in time of doing business.

“Where ever you go, the length of time will be shortened so it will be better for you and you stand to gain from short time of doing business,’’ Abubakar said.

He further said that the publications on TFA portal would provide traders the needed information that would guide their operations.

“If you go to our TSA portal, it is easier for you to get information to do a lot of trading.

“We have implemented some parts of the agreement but we still need to do more because we have obligation to implement the whole of the agreement and the committee is working to implement all the agreement,’’ he said.

On her part, Alice Stephens, the Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank Group, said that the bank would provide support in three key areas to facilitate implementation of the agreement by Nigeria.

She listed effective risk management, capacity building among agencies saddled with border management and transparency as the areas the World Bank would provide support toward the implementation of the agreement.

Nigeria ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement in 2017, making it the 107th World Trade Organisation member to do so. (NAN