The Director-General (D-G) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, have called for urgent actions to transition the country’s economy from oil to a service and technology-driven one. The WTO DG and the CBN Governor emphasized the need for the government and the private sector operators to take firm positions on how to refocus the Nigerian economy from oil, as its demand would continue to fall.
At a meeting with the CBN management in Abuja, yesterday, the Okonjo-Iweala said: “We have to talk of transiting from fossil fuel and take actions because the world is moving very fast. Some countries in Europe have set a 2025 deadline for switching from fossil fuels. China is encouraging its young people to buy electric cars. We have to hold more conversations about this.
“We do have what it takes among our young people to improve trade in services and trade in other goods.”
Okonjo-Iweala, two-time Minister of Finance, revealed that the European Union (EU) has reported Nigeria to the WTO over the decision of the CBN to restrict the importation of milk and other dairy importers.
She advised Nigeria to utilize the provisions of the WTO trade remedies to build its local industries and avoid taking actions that could breach the organisation’s provisions.
According to her, with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a lot of opportunities are opened to the country as the biggest economy on the continent but that such opportunities could be utilised if only appropriate investments are made by local and foreign companies to produce goods for exports.
The WTO boss said that the organisation was working with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide trade financing for countries, adding that “trade has lifted millions of people out of poverty.”
Emefiele said that the CBN was already working with other institutions to provide the needed infrastructure for the private sector to thrive and that the Infracorp initiative would be a game-changer in that regard.
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