The World Trade Organization, WTO, on Wednesday pledged to collaborate with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, to explore areas of synergy to help remove trade barriers and provide better access to market commodities towards regional integration and poverty eradication.
The WTO is the global trade group working on developing a global value chain for better trade information, rules and trade regimes towards the smooth flow of trade between nations.
The organization also provides the framework for negotiating trade agreements, dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants’ adherence to WTO, which has trade finance as the core area of encouraging regional integration and a key factor in poverty eradication.
NEXIM is Nigeria’s premier export credit agency mandated to promote the diversification of the country’s economy and deepen the external sector, particularly the non-oil sector, providing credit facilities in both local and foreign currencies; risk-bearing facilities through export credit guarantee & export credit insurance; business development and financial advisory services.
The deputy director general of the WTO, Yonov Agah, told the managing director/chief executive of NEXIM, Roberts Orya, during a courtesy visit in Abuja that the global trade group would be willing to support the bank realise its mandate.
While commending Mr. Orya for leading the management of NEXIM on the right track, the deputy DG said the WTO was determined to encourage the Bank as a Trade Policy Bank to deepen relationships with the relevant regulatory agencies and players in a bid to remove the bottlenecks to growth in the sector.
“Although empirical trade policy analysis is lacking in the different sectors, the WTO is working on developing a Global Value Chain for better Trade Information and Trade regimes,” Mr. Agah said.
“We will work with the management of NEXIM Bank to achieve the desired goals and objectives of providing a seamless trade policy document.”
The deputy director, who said the WTO aims to create awareness and proffer solutions to the peculiar experiences in different countries with regards to trade, urged NEXIM to explore collaborating with their in-house institute for training and technical acquisition.
Earlier, Mr. Orya gave an overview of NEXIM’s mandate as a trade policy Bank promoting export diversification and deepening the non-oil sector.
The bank, he explained, pursued these strategic mandates targeted at boosting employment creation and foreign exchange earnings in the Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Minerals and Services (Tourism, Transportation and Entertainment) industries.
The NEXIM boss told the Director General about the various initiatives embarked upon by the Bank to expand trade, particularly regional trade, by setting up the Sealink project, a Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV, to promote trade within the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, sub-region.
Other initiatives by NEXIM include the ECOWAS Trade Support facility, ETSF, to enhance movement of goods across borders; the Interstate Road Transport Scheme, ISRT, to promote free flow of goods among member states; free duties, taxes and restrictions while in transit, and the Nigerian Creative and Entertainment facility, to support the structured growth and development of the entertainment sector.
“We are going to work with the WTO; deepen our relationship with relevant government agencies, like the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON; National Agency for Foods, Drugs, Administration and Control, NAFDAC; Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and other relevant agencies. All of us will come together to determine how we will drive Nigeria’s export market,” Mr. Orya said.
In a related development, Mr. Orya also played host to the Greek Ambassador to Nigeria, Alekos Ikonomopoulos, who also visited the Bank to discuss areas of possible partnerships and between Nigeria and Greece in promotion of non-oil exports.
Mr. Orya, who highlighted notable Greek-owned companies currently operating in Nigeria, thanked the envoy for taking the initial step to seek to work with the Bank.
He used the opportunity to present an update on the Sealink Project implementation, describing it as a private sector-driven project, saying NEXIM Bank was only facilitating its establishment in line with its mandate as Nigeria Trade Policy Bank of to promote and deepen non-oil export trade.
The Sealink Project, Mr. Orya explained, would promote intra and inter-African trade, thereby fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions.
Notable Greek investments in Nigeria today exceed $5 billion, and are growing. For example, the Greek owned Flour Mills of Nigeria’s investment into UNICEM cement factory Calabar, Cross River State,” he said.
The ambassador pledged mutual cooperation with NEXIM to boost trade relations between Nigeria and Greece.
“We shall create the enabling environment for Greek investors to collaborate with Nigeria in the areas of Technology, Maritime and Agriculture,” he stated.