• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Trade ministry restates Nigeria’s commitment to multilateral trading objectives

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 Nigeria is commitment to the principles and objectives of the multilateral trading system through the pursuit of liberalised trade and dynamic economic policies, Samuel Ortom, minister of state for industry, trade and investment, has said.

Ortom said this at the opening of a five-day workshop on World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation National Self Assessment of Nigeria’s Needs and Priorities at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja, recently.

In his address read by Steve Amanze, his special assistant (technical), the minister said Nigeria was committed to the objective of trade facilitation and trade related financial services aimed at ensuring smooth and effective import and export procedures relating to customs and port clearance, border management and performance monitoring systems, trade documentation and tariff development.

Ortom said the president was committed to the reform and customs modernisation that would create the necessary enabling environment for investment and trade facilitation, saying: “It will also enable our seaports, which have excellent facilities to regain their pre-eminent position in the West Africa sub-region. The government is committed to continue with the reform of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), which started in 2004. The objective of the reform is to have a service that is responsive to the demands of a rapidly globalised economy in terms of human capacity and ICT infrastructure which are necessary for the effectiveness of trade facilitation.”

The minister pointed out that Nigeria as a responsible member of the WTO will continue to intensify efforts to play more active and collaborative role in shaping the direction of multilateral trade policies consistent with our development aspiration.

He commended the management of the NCS for embarking on full automation of the clearing process and continued efforts to reposition the customs service to meet WCO/WTO standards, thereby ensuring that international best practices requirement were met.

He recalled the global concern for trade facilitation which had led to continuous WTO negotiations with the aim of reducing trade inhibiting bureaucracy at borders, as this tended to slow down trade between countries.

In his welcome address read by Bashir Zoru, the director of weights and measures, the permanent secretary, Dauda Kigbu pointed out that the purpose of the Needs Assessment was to examine WTO members proposed measures on Trade Facilitation vis-à-vis Nigeria’s current situation, support and prepare Nigeria in the current negotiation on WTO trade facilitation, identify and develop strategies towards overcoming barriers to trade among others with a view to streamlining overlapping functions, identify and prioritise technical assistance needs and areas in which Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) would be necessary.