The World Bank has advised the Nigerian government to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) put together by 162 member- nations of World Trade Organisation (WTO) as part of measures to enhance its proposed economic diversification agenda.
Speaking at a meeting with the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello in Lagos yesterday, the senior private sector development specialist in charge of trade facilitation at the bank, Mauel Henriques, explained that trade facilitation is crucial to the development of the nation’s economy on a sustainable basis.
Henriques, who led a delegation from the bank, said ratification of the agreement is an opportunity for Nigeria to facilitate fast, cheap and transparent trade facilitation in the interest of all stakeholders and the larger economy.
The delegation is scheduled to visit the seaport, airport, Seme border post and meet with relevant stakeholders between today (Tuesday) and Thursday this week.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to WTO, Ademola Adejumo, who accompanied the delegation, said the agreement needs the ratification of two-third of 162-member nations for it to take effect.
He explained that immediately the two-third is secured, the agreement would automatically be binding on all member nations.
Adejumo also disclosed that members of the delegation had met with the management of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Trade and Investment and the National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Bello, while addressing the delegation said trade is the single mechanism “we have to reduce poverty and enhance national development and economic transformation.”
He said: “We know that the issue of trade facilitation has taken the front burner at the global level. Nigeria is working seriously to ratify the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as this is imperative for boosting the nation’s competitiveness and successfully integrating into the regional and global trading system to enhance our economic growth and development”.
He added: “Trade facilitation needs to be viewed from its objective which is making it easier for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) to trade across borders.
“High transport and logistics cost is well recognised as major hindrance to trade facilitation in developing economy as ours. This is an area within the purview of the Nigerian Shippers Council as trade facilitation agency and more so, being the nation’s port economic regulator.’’
According to WTO, the TFA sets series of measures for expeditiously movement of goods across borders inspired best practices from around the world.