Nigeria intensifying reforms to improve business environment, attract investments and alleviate poverty – Trade minister, Doris Uzoka-Anite speaks at 13th WTO ministerial conference holding in UAE

The Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite says  that Nigeria will prioritize reforms that would address simultaneously, longstanding development issues as well as issues of commercial significance that foster inclusive growth, create jobs, and widen the circle of prosperity.

Uzoka-Anite said this during the 13th World Trade Organization, WTO, Ministerial Conference otherwise known as MC 13, which is currently holding at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The MC13 which began on Monday 26th saw trade ministers and delegations from around the world convene to update the WTO’s agreements on trade policy, review the functions of the multilateral trading system and define the agenda for the WTO’s future work.

The MC13 is an international meeting of the organization’s 164 member governments, directed to make decisions on the multilateral rules underpinning the international trading system. It is the highest-level decision-making body of the WTO, and under the Marrakesh Agreement, the group is obliged to meet every two years.

This year’s conference presents a crucial opportunity for Nigeria to participate in negotiations for, among other issues, Special and Differential Treatment that developing country members can receive in trade agreements.

Notably, the agenda of the ministerial conference includes discussions focused on both the environment and inclusivity in trade policy.

In her address, Uzoka-Anite revealed how Nigeria is currently intensifying reforms within its institutional and regulatory frameworks to improve the country’s business environment, and competitiveness, with the aim of attracting sustainable investments, increasing productive capacity, creating employment and alleviating poverty.

“I am delighted to be present here today for this auspicious occasion,” she began in her welcome address.

“As a country, we are proud that the idea for a multilateral framework on Investment facilitation for Development which was hatched in Abuja in November 2017, culminated in a WTO Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement.

“Let me seize this opportunity to thank the co-coordinators of the IFD, Amb. Sofia BOZA, of Chile, and Amb. Jung Sung PARK, of the Republic of Korea as well as all those who worked tirelessly to make this a reality.

“In Nigeria, we are currently intensifying reforms within our institutional and regulatory frameworks to improve our business environment, and competitiveness, with the aim of attracting sustainable investments, increasing our productive capacity, creating employment, and alleviating poverty.

“In our view, these reforms are key, if we are to reap economies of scale or other market efficiencies under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as from our participation within the Multilateral Trading System.

“I believe that the IFD Agreement would complement Nigeria’s ongoing reforms and initiatives towards unlocking opportunities within our economy, especially with regards to efforts towards making Nigeria a progressively easier place to start and grow businesses.

“We are confident that this agreement that seeks to foster closer international cooperation and create a more transparent, efficient, and predictable investment environment will lead to an improved flow of cross-border investment for development. I believe it is only by scaling up investments in our economies that we can participate and benefit from, today’s integrated and digital global economy.

“In this regard, we call on all WTO Members to support the adoption of the IFD Agreement as a WTO annex 4 Agreement in this Ministerial Conference. We will intensify our outreach until this is done.”

L-R: MD/CEO OGFZA, Bamanga Usman Jada and HM FMITI, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite at the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 25th February, 2024

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