Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga
By Crusoe Osagie
The new World Trade Organisation (WTO) centre established in Abuja will equip trade negotiators and other stakeholders to effectively protect Nigeria’s interest in international trade bargaining, the Federal Government has said.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, Dauda Kigbu, on behalf of federal government launched the WTO Reference Centre in Nigeria, and stressed that it would be used as a major tool to ensure that the country is not short-changed in international trade agreements.
The Reference Centre, established by the WTO in the Department of Trade, was declared open by the Permanent Secretary and the Head of the WTO Reference Centre, Dr. Mustapha Sadni Jailab, Head of the WTO Academic Programme, Institute of Training and Technical Cooperation at the Ministry Headquarters in Abuja.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary said the centre would enable SMEs, Trade Negotiation Researchers, Business Community, Non State Actor and other interested users to have access to WTO information and multilateral Trade Agreements, Tariffs and other related information.
He said the establishment of the Reference Centre in the Ministry was a clear demonstration of WTO readiness to build capacity of member countries and the importance attached to accurate and evidence based trade data and information.
In his words “This is a welcome initiative as it would afford reference centre coordinator the opportunities of learning how to disseminate information in an efficient manner, and by networking and sharing information with other reference centres.
Kigbu added “this global training will also include collecting, classifying, correcting and analysing relevant data which can be technical, legal economical and commercial”.
He urged the WTO to include Nigeria in the annual missions for the purpose of upgrading and establishment of additional centres as earlier approved by WTO for Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the University of Abuja.
At the end of the three-day training conducted by Prof. Jailab, the Director of Trade, Mr. David Adejuwon, stated that the reference centre was WTO Secretariat’s strategy put in place for coherent WTO training paths based on a progressive, multi-modular approach, e-training and e-learning.
He charged the participants at the Reference Centre Training Programme to be ready to share their experiences with their colleagues in order to enhance the performance and productivity of the department in trade information dissemination and analysis of trade issues.
Adejuwon urged WTO to include Nigeria in the annual missions for the establishment of additional centres as earlier approved and upgrading of the centre that has been established.