Nigeria received with great excitement the announcement by Roberto Azevêdo Director General of the World Trade Organisation of entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on February 22 2017.
Speaking at his office in Abuja in reaction to the announcement, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council said “This is particularly gratifying as Nigeria submitted its ratification earlier in January through the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah. The ratification of the TFA is indeed a major milestone for global multilateral trade. I am optimistic that Nigeria would go ahead to domesticate and implement the agreement to the letter”.
“We expect remarkable outcomes for international trade through TFA, which aims to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods including goods in transit. It will reduce bureaucracy at the borders for faster, cheaper and easier trade and is expected to increase trade and investment”, he said.
The agreement promotes trade by establishing harmonized rules to further expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods crossing borders, including goods in transit. It offers opportunities especially for SMEs to engage in formal export of goods, which have so far, been informally traded across borders. With TFA, a larger number of exporters to partake in global value chains, thereby enabling all businesses to tap into the huge potentials of trade.
Of particular importance for non-oil export is the commitment to accept electronic documentation (SW), test procedures and method of handling perishable/rejected goods. For Nigeria, the much-advocated National Single Window (NSW) initiative would bring about faster services at the borders for both imports and exports. It will also ensure correct revenue collection and create room for transparency in governance, better public service and modernization through e-legislation, thus creating a win-win situation for both government and business.
He noted that NEPC is therefore committed to support and work closely with the relevant government agencies, private sector and international organizations to ensure full implementation of the Agreement.
“We will maximize the benefits of TFA especially to make export trade the catalyst for achieving national economic turn-around for sustainable development, enhanced annual GDP growth job creation, higher incomes, improved welfare, reduced trade costs, and ultimately landmark improvements to the ease of doing business index for the country”, he said.
It is hoped that many small businesses that hitherto have found it impossible to trade internationally due to complex regulatory requirements will henceforth be able to be part of global trade which leads to sustainable growth; and growth that results in prosperity.