Nigerians urged to key into international trade agreement with partners

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By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi

It has been observed that With the Global acknowledgment of Trade and Investment as veritable tools for poverty reduction and sustainable development, extending beyond the traditional boundaries of merchants and commerce, trade has become a unifying agent around the globe.
The observation was made by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani Gwarzo who said that It is also imperative to underscore that countries are increasingly focusing attention to the conduct of both domestic and international trade engagements through strengthening trade policies to deepen the quality and capacity to deliver on strategies objectives. 
Delivering a keynote address at a one day SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP ON SIGNED TRADE AGREEMENTS BETWEEN NIGERIA AND HER TRADING Partners held on Thursday at Command Guest House, Bauchi, he said that the essence of Nigeria entering into Trade Agreements with other countries is primarily to facilitate and develop trade relations on the basis of reciprocity, equality and mutual benefits. 
He added that, The thrust of Nigeria’s Trade Agreements include the Most Favored Nation Treatment, Expansion of Volumes of Trade, strict observance to rules and regulations on imports and exports, Settlement of disputes, Safeguard measures, among others. Details of these signed Agreements can be uploaded in our website: www.bilateraltradefmiti.com.ng  for your information. 
The Permanent Secretary explained that The Ministry initiates, negotiates, implements and assesses Bilateral Trade Agreement, Memorandum of Understanding, Regional and Multilateral Trade Agreements between Nigeria and her respective trading partners. 
The Agreements signed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria include: Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO); General System of Trade Preferences (GSTP); The Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); The US – Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA); Preferential Trade Agreement Among D8 countries, Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and other Bilateral Trade Agreements with the United States of America, Liberia, Kenya, Cote D’Ivoire, Namibia, Niger, Chad, South Africa, Benin, Ghana, Uganda, Vietnam, Canada, China,, Tunisia, Indonesia, Egypt, Iran, Ethiopia, Spain, Greece to mention a few. 
Nasir Sani Gwarzo added that, “Let me stress the fact that the task of transforming Nigeria into an industrial giant can best be achieved in cooperation with the private sector stakeholders. In this regard, my Ministry will welcome ideas, suggestions, proposals and initiatives from stakeholders on how to chart the path for sustained economic development. Such contributions would go a long way in shaping and assisting this Administration to evolve an appropriate policies and strategies to enhance the industrialization of our country.
He also said that The Ministry had planned to carry out the sensitization workshops in the 6 Geo-political zones of the country, the first sensitization workshop was conducted in Kano State, North West Geo-political zone from 11th -13th November, 2020, the second was in Lagos State, South West Geo-political zone from 15th – 17th December, 2020, now we are in Bauchi State, North East Geo- political zone. 
“It is my hope that the gains of these sensitizations would collectively enhance our effort towards achieving greater heights in our economic growth and development. The challenges are enormous but with commitments and dedications, we would collectively offer the best to our trading partners from the various sectors of our economy in the nearest future”, he concluded. 
In her remarks, Bauchi State Bauchi State Commissioner of Commerce and Industries, Maryam Garba Bagel said that the state is blessed with abundant resources in Agricultural, Solid Minerals and Tourism. 
The Commissioner added that It is estimated that 65% of the total land area of the State is cultivable saying that, “today the State produces surplus quantity of food and cash crops for industrial purpose, such as maize, rice, groundnut, soya beans, wheat and sesame seed” . 
She added that, The State is equally endowed with abundant of untapped solid minerals which can be categorized into three (3): Metallic Ores: Non Metallic and Gemstone (precious stone). 
According to her, “Our economy is relatively growing as a result of the State’s Government liberal policies of welcoming private sector driven initiatives, which makes the State a hub of investment.
Maryam Bagel expressed optimism that the workshop no doubt is of great importance to the numerous business groups and individuals as it will enlighten them on various market opportunities. 
The Commissioner added that the business community in the State, as well as the North East Geo-political Zone, is definitely going to benefit a lot in the workshop saying that, “it will be an eye opener to most of us. Nigeria has entered into various trade agreements with other Nations, in particular, our trading partnership with our neighbouring Countries is going to be enhanced” .
She then advised the participants to pay attention to whatever the resource person are going to deliver and feel free to ask questions where they need more clarifications stressing that, “Remember also that you are expected to serve as ambassadors by delivering what you have learn to your association so that enough awareness will be created” .

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