WTO: APC Governors’ Forum Backs Okonjo-Iweala

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Elected governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) has thrown their weight behind, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s candidate for the office of Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The forum also called on member countries of WTO to support Nigeria’s candidate for the global job.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja and signed by the Chairman of the forum and Kebbi State Governor, Mr. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the governors commended President Muhammadu Buhari for nominating the former Minister of Finance, describing her candidacy as not only the best to the world, but also a presentation of a credible person with integrity.

“In nominating our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President Buhari is not just presenting a Nigerian candidate but is presenting to the world one of its best, albeit from Nigeria, and one who is eminently qualified to lead the task of fixing the world trading system.

“An economist, international development expert and a global public servant, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is one candidate that comes with all the experiences and expertise required to reposition the WTO. Both President Buhari and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala deserve commendation for giving the world the opportunity towards correcting the distortions in the world trading system.”

Endorsing Okonjo-Iweala, the forum chairman said, “I am privileged to have interacted with Okonjo-Iweala during her 2011 Senate confirmation hearings as Minister of Finance as well as the in a 2013 negotiation between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the federal government over the implementation of an agreement which led to closure of universities for a long time. In both she was at her best.

“Africa matters, not least because it remains the least developed continent but have a young and growing population that is willing to join the world. Equally African countries and indeed many other developing countries have been responsible trading partners that give opportunity to others. They also seek more opportunities from others, and occasionally the two worlds may seem to differ in their views but Okonjo-Iweala is able to make the case for both. She is capable of energising the World Trade Organisation and give confidence to all countries of the world that we shall be more prosperous together,’ Bagudu stated.

The forum observed that the main objective of establishing the World Trade Organisation is to create a trading system that is equitable and with least distortions.

It lamented that despite being an improvement on the Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), the WTO is yet to deliver in achieving the objectives. Worst still is that it is perceived as impotent.

According to Bagudu, “the exit of UK from EU and the brickbat between the US and China is illustrative of the difficulties with bilateral trade agreements talk more of a global one. The failure of the WTO to reach an agreement on agriculture, for example is punitive to all of Africa”, he said.

The governors pointed out that the literal freezing of world trade occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic serves as a stark warning that the world needs to have a better trade system.