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Govt Presents Request List To WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala



World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okojo-Iweala’s visit to the State House, Abuja on Monday provided Nigeria an opportunity to present to her a request list.

Top on the list is that Nigeria wants Ngozi Okojo-Iweala to support the nation’s push for the country’s gas to be classified as transition energy.

Finance Minister Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who made the request said that Nigeria was advocating ” transition energy because it is true now that the issue of climate change is upon us.”

Ahmed noted that “our gas emission in Nigeria is very minimal compared to global emissions. We have these assets and we have not tapped them to aid our development.”

She pleaded that “we want you to support us and we have it on our agenda in COP 26 to campaign for gas to be classified as transition energy even if it’s for a limited period of 20 years.”

Nigeria, the finance minister said “also wants the WTO to support us in looking at how Nigeria can leverage on bio-economic resources.”

According to Ahmed, “it is not new we have been too dependent on fossil fuel and crude contributes significantly to the extent that whichever way the market swings to, that’s the situation we will find ourselves and it is unhealthy.”

Nigeria is also asking for help from the WTO “to help facilitate trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and enhance the ease of doing business, strengthen manufacturing, and also get women involved and support Nigeria in driving economic inclusive growth by paying special attention to the contributions of women.”

Responding, Okojo-Iweala said her “visit is to see how WTO can support Nigeria and improve her ability to trade.”

To support Nigeria’s trade, she noted, had become imperative giving that “Nigeria’s share of world trade is 0.33 percent and then in logistics of trade we are 103 out of 167 and generally 19 percent of African trade.”

While promising to help Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala said she considered Nigeria’s poor figures regarding trade as “a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the AfCFTA and be able to expand and one of the objectives is to see how the WTO can help and add value to our primary products especially within Africa.”

According to her, “Nigeria is one of the biggest producers of Sesame seeds and shea butter in the world but we have been barred from the market of Europe and the US for quality issues so we couldn’t export”.

However, the WTO she said had “come up with the International Trade Centre and established cooperatives for goods to penetrate more markets and it has ordered 200metric tonnes of shea butter and later 500metric tonnes both of which have had positive impact”.

Okonjo-Iweala stated that there was a “joint statement initiative at the WTO to see what rules that could underpin trade for MSMEs and women in trade ” because we believe reaching them will make a difference in regional and global value chain since most of the population is in informal sectors.”

With regards to Nigeria’s advocacy for transition energy, the WTO Director General noted that the world is fast moving to renewable energy.

According to her, “in the area of transition to renewable energy, the world is moving in the direction of renewables, we have to advocate and migrate to other types of activities. Nigeria must think fast on how to join the movement and I support the minister in transiting from fossil foil but we must advocate and be willing to migrate”.

Okonjo-Iweala noted that Nigeria has “a diversified economy that can actually benefit us if we invest in it, not just in goods, or agriculture, but also services”.

Nigeria she said has “young people doing great in fintech and technology and the WTO is developing rules to underpin e-commerce in a fair and balanced way and also train people to access e-commerce”.

“E-commerce is crucial especially with the pandemic and the WTO negotiates rules to make everyone access e-commerce,” she said.

Going forward, the WTO she said hopes “to work with international banks to improve world trade. We will work with World bank, IMF, AFDB and Afreximbank”.

“I have stated that Nigeria is 103 out of 167 in logistics of trade, so if we are thinking of how we can improve trade, we must also think of how we can improve logistics from transport to other logistics. However, e-commerce must come with regulations and Nigeria is the leading light”.

READ ALSO: Police Deploy Zamfara DPO Allegedly Conniving With Bandits

The WTO she said can assist Nigeria “specifically and we have joined with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Afexim bank to facilitate trade. We are also partnering IFC for women in finance programme with a discount.”

Before ending her speech, Ngozi Okojo-Iweala revealed how the Nigerian government did everything to support her emergence as Director General of the WTO.

She said the federal government through the minister of finance cleared Nigeria’s arrears at the WTO for 2019 and 2020 even before the year ran out as well as paid advance for 2021.

This gesture she said cleared the way for her because it showed Nigeria as a true continental leader that does not joke with its obligations.

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BREAKING: PDP Suspends Anyim, Fayose



Anyim and Fayose

Former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; former president of the Senate, Pius Anyim; Prof Dennis Ityavyar and Aslam Aliyu were on Thursday suspended from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

The PDP made the suspension on Thursday after an extensive review of the affairs of the party, pursuant to the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017).

The PDP also referred the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, to the National Disciplinary Committee over his reported involvement in anti-party activities.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.

“The PDP urges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our party across the country to remain united and focused at this critical time,” the statement added.


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BREAKING: Ekweremadu, Wife Found Guilty Of Organ-trafficking In UK



Ekweremadu and his wife

A United Kingdom court has found former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 50,  guilty of an organ-trafficking plot, which saw them bring a 21-year-old man to the UK

They were convicted of conspiring to exploit the man from Lagos for his kidney, reports the BBC.

Prosecutors told the Old Bailey the organ was to be removed and given to the couple’s daughter, Sonia, aged 25.

She was cleared of the same charge.

The victim, a street trader from Lagos, was brought to the UK last year to provide a kidney in an £80,000 private transplant at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

They were later arrested at the airport while trying to leave the UK.

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NLC Orders Workers To Shut CBN Offices Nationwide Over Naira Scarcity



NLC Suspends Plan To Protest Against Fuel Subsidy Removal

Worried about the continued scarcity of naira, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has officially declared a nationwide . The national president of the union, Joe Ajaero, gave the directive during a media briefing in Abuja.

Ajaero also directed that affiliate unions constituting the NLC should be on standby for picketing exercises across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria nationwide.

The NLC earlier issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to end the petrol and cash scarcity being experienced in the country.

Ajaero told journalists on Wednesday that the industrial action became the last resort of the NLC following the expiration of the ultimatum.

He said the decision to picket the CBN branches became necessary as the federal government and the CBN had failed to show any commitment to addressing the situation.

Ajaero lamented that despite the Supreme Court order that the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, the situation kept getting worse.

He said workers could not access cash to pay fares to work.

He also criticised the pricing irregularities in the petroleum sector.

“Last week, we gave an ultimatum for the review of the cash crunch bedevilling the country, but we have discovered to our dismay that as at this moment not much effort has been made to ameliorate the situation. Government is still foot-dragging on these issues we raised,” Ajaero said.

“Based on this, we met again this morning to review our position and resolved that by Wednesday next week all CBN branches will be picketed. Workers are directed to stay at home too because people cannot eat, workers can no longer go to the office, we have been pushed to the wall.

“We have decided to take our destiny in our hands, we have mobilised our workers on this exercise.”

The NLC has no fewer than 43 affiliate unions which include, but not limited to, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, and the National Union of Road Transport Workers.

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