Nigeria moves to ratify WTO trade facilitation agreement to improve global ranking on ease of doing business

To improve Nigeria’s global ranking in the ease of doing business, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, Ademola Adejumo has assured that the country would soon ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) it entered into with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Adejumo gave the assurance yesterday when he led a delegation from the World Bank on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello.

He said the purpose of the visit was to enlist the support of the Council towards the implementation of the WTO trade facilitation agreement, which he said will enter into force once two/third of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement.

While highlighting the importance of the TFA, Adejumo said it will among other benefits help in expediting the movement and clearance of goods thus improving time and cost of clearance.

This he said will help in improving on the global ranking of Nigeria which at present is at 170 out of a total of 189 and thereby attract domestic and foreign investment, create job opportunities as well as generate more revenue for the government.

He said the Nigerian Customs Service has shown its commitment to drive the process when the TFA is ratified.

He said once Nigeria submits its ratification, the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral donors’ have pledged to assist the country and others that have shown commitments towards the implementation of the TFA.

“What remain is for Nigeria to formally summit its ratification protocol to the WTO, the process has started and we hope that within the next couple of weeks, giving the importance of TFA to our national and sub regional economies, we would be able to summit the ratification protocol.

“The rating of Nigeria in the ease of doing business is very poor for now but we know we will overcome these challenges to move from 170 positions out of 189. We want to be in the first 50, if not 20 rather than being within the last 20. Once it improves, we would be able to attract substantial domestic and foreign investment, create job and generate more revenue.

“Nigerian Shippers’ council is one of the important members of Nigeria trade facilitation committee and a trade facilitating agency that have critical role to play in implementing the TFA whenever it comes into force. It will impact positively once everybody has shown commitment to drive the process,” he said

He however called on government to make concerted effort towards creating an enabling environment and ensure predictability of it policies for business to grow for both local and foreign investors.

Leader of the World Bank team, Manuel Henriques while expressing the readiness of the World Bank to assist Nigeria in ratification of the TFA, said when the agreement is ratified, it will benefit the Nigerian economy as it will help bring about efficiency in trade facilitation.

In his response, Bello called for strong laws to support trade in the country saying that the low ranking of Nigeria in ease of doing business is not acceptable.

He said government policies must be predictable for investors to predict their investment.

He assured that the Council in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies will continue to work towards streamlining port operations and support automation of the ports to ensure that Nigeria moves upward in its ranking.

“There is no better time than now to get involved in trade facilitation majors. We want to be competitive with the global economy. Our ranking is abysmally low and we cannot afford to continue watching. There must be collaboration between agencies so that we deploy appropriate trade facilitation majors. We need to have efficiency and predictability. An investor will like to know at any time how and when things will happen and certainty,” he said.

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