Okonjo-Iweala: Nigeria's high trade costs making life difficult for businesses

 The Cable

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), says Nigeria’s trade cost is too high and needs to be cut down to facilitate local and international investment.

Okonjo-Iweala stated this via a video link on the second day of the midterm ministerial performance review at the presidential villa, Abuja.

In June, the former finance minister said trade costs could be managed through channels like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), improving internet infrastructure to boost e-commerce, implementing regulatory reforms, and developing infrastructure in ports and roads.

Speaking virtually on Tuesday, the WTO DG said a lower trade cost from the factory or farm gate to the final consumer will attract trade-oriented investment into the country.

Improving security and lowering transactions for foreign and domestic investments would be necessary,” she said.

“Nigeria is part of a group of countries negotiating an agreement on investment facilitation at the WTO. Once this agreement is negotiated, gratified and implemented, it could be instrumental in attracting additional trade-oriented investment.

“To complete investment facilitation, Nigeria has to cut down on trade costs. Infrastructural costs, linkage costs, regulatory costs, customs costs, basically all costs associated with moving goods from the factory or farm gate to the final consumer. Nigeria’s trade costs are too high.”..

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