Nigerians Advise To Utilize International Trade Agreements With Trading Partners

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

Stakeholders in trade and investment in the country have been advised to utilize the opportunities provided by the Trade Agreements between Nigeria and her trading partners taking into cognisance that Trade and Investment have become veritable tools for poverty reduction
and sustainable development around the world.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo gave the advice at a one day Sensitization workshop on Signed Trade Agreements between Nigeria and her Trading Partners for investors in North Eastern part of the country held yesterday at the Command Guest House, Bauchi.

He observed that with the Global acknowledgment of Trade and
Investment as veritable tools for poverty reduction and sustainable development, extending beyond the traditional boundaries of merchants and commerce, trade has become a unifying agent around the globe.

Dr. Nasir Gwarzo represented by his Special Assistant Adminisatration, Haruna Dauda explained that “It is also imperative to underscore that countries are increasingly focusing attention to the conduct of both domestic and international trade engagements
through strengthening trade policies to deepen the quality and capacity to deliver on strategies objectives”.

According to him, “the essence of Nigeria entering into Trade Agreements
with other countries is primarily to facilitate and develop trade relations on the basis of reciprocity, equality and mutual benefits”.

“The thrust of our Trade Agreements include the Most Favored Nation
Treatment, Expansion of Volumes of Trade, strict observance to rules and regulations on imports and exports, Settlement of disputes, Safeguard measures, among others. Details of these signed Agreements can be uploaded in our website:
www.bilateraltradefmiti.com.ng for your information”.

The Permanent Secretary said “the Ministry initiates, negotiates, implements and assesses Bilateral Trade Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding(MoU), Regional and Multilateral Trade Agreements between Nigeria and her respective trading partners”.

“The Agreements signed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria include: Agreement Establishing the World Trade
Organization(WTO); General System of Trade Preferences (GSTP); The Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); The US – Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); African Continental Free
Trade Agreement (AfCFTA); Preferential Trade Agreement Among D8 countries, Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and other Bilateral Trade Agreements with the United States of America,
Liberia, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Namibia, Niger, Chad, South Africa, Benin, Ghana, Uganda, Vietnam, Canada, China,, Tunisia, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Spain, Greece to mention a few”.

He then emphasised that the task of
transforming Nigeria into an industrial giant can best be achieved in cooperation with the private sector
stakeholders, adding that “In this regard, my Ministry will welcome ideas, suggestions, proposals and initiatives from stakeholders on how to chart the
path for sustained economic development.

Such contributions,he explained, “would go a long way in shaping and
assisting this Administration to evolve an appropriate policies and strategies to enhance the industrialization of our country”.

Also speaking, the Director Trade, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Aliyu Mohammad represented by his Deputy, Zachariah Ishaku reiterated that the sensitization is an opportunity for strategic collaboration and engagement between the public and private stakeholders to harness benefits of the signed trade agreement.

Aliyu Mohammad said President Muhammadu Buhari is using the private sector to improve business environment, create jobs and alleviate poverty across the country.

According to him the Ministry is ready to provide a sustainable platform for collaboration that will help investors achieve a common goal.

In her remarks,the Bauchi State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, Hon Maryam Garba Bagel said that the state is blessed with abundant resources in Agricultural, Solid Minerals and Tourism.

According to her,” it is estimated that 65% of the total land area of the state is cultivable,adding that “today the state produces surplus quantity of food and cash crops for industrial purposes, such as maize, rice,groundnut, soya beans, wheat and sesame seed”.

She added that, the state is equally endowed with abundant of untapped solid minerals which can be categorised into three (3):Metallic Ores,Non – Metallic and Gemstones (precious stone).

While declaring that ” our economy is relatively growing as a result of the state government liberal policies of welcoming private sector driven initiatives, which makes the state a hub of investment “, she expressed optimism that the workshop no doubt is of great importance to the numerous business groups and individuals as it will enlighten them on various market opportunities.

The workshop drew participants from Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Yobe states. END

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