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KALU MEETS OKONJO-IWEALA, SEEKS WTO’s COLLABORATION IN BOOSTING EXPORT OF PRIMARY PRODUCTS     

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KALU MEETS OKONJO-IWEALA, SEEKS WTO’s COLLABORATION IN BOOSTING EXPORT OF PRIMARY PRODUCTS                                                                     26-03-24

By Sadiq Aminu                                                       The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Benjamin Kalu, has solicited the cooperative efforts of the World Trade Organization, WTO, in boosting the exportation of primary products from Nigeria and Africa in general.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Levinus Nwabughiogu made the call when he visited the Director-General of the WTO, Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva on the sidelines of the ongoing 148th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentry Union (IPU) in Switzerland.
The Deputy Speaker who accompanied the Senate President and leader of the Nigerian delegation to the IPU assembly, Senator Godswill Akpabio to the headquarters of WTO raised concerns about a downward slope of export of primary products from Africa to other parts of the world.
He said that most businessmen from the shore of Africa encountered challenges marketing the products due to aflatoxins that come in contact with them before reaching their destinations, especially within the framework of “The African Growth and Opportunity Act, AGOA, which ultimately provides duty-free treatment to goods of designated sub-Saharan African countries.
Mr. Kalu therefore solicited the help of the WTO to set up centres in Africa for the treatments of the primary products packaged for export.

“Africa is interested in exporting our primary products. We have always had issues with these primary products we are exporting. Aflatoxins, I don’t know what you are putting together to help these products reduce that because it’s one of the complaints about products coming from Africa. I don’t know if there will be centres around Africa where businessmen who cannot afford to do this decontamination will get that particular centre and detoxify their products to be able to meet the quality specifications before selling them off. Is WTO interested in this and how much so.
Are there programmes designed to be able to facilitate this? Kalu enquired.
Responding, the Director General, WTO, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said that WTO is aware of development and is also eager to assisting countries implement their respective protocols on the issue.
“At the WTO, we have been heavily promoting something we called re-globalization. We are trying to persuade supply chains of companies located outside Africa, we are trying to tell them that this also a good place. WTO is very much aware. Many of the rules are built based on our rules. So, we have an interest in keeping in touch and making sure any country that wants to request our help to implement their protocols and so on will be able to do that.
We are not going to trade Cocoa to Cote D’Ivoire. We can trade oil because most of them want oil but we don’t just want to trade that”, she said.
Dr. Iweala, said the WTO will continue to promote programs that would benefit the economy across all region of the global.

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