FG to review ALL trade, investment agreements since 1960

Chiedu Osakwe, director-general of the Nigeria office for trade negotiations, says the agency will embark on a review of all trade and investment agreements entered into with countries and entities since 1960.

In an interview with BusinessDay, Osakwe said the aim of the review is to update and modernise such agreements.

“The review focuses on all our trade and investment agreements from 1960 till date,” he said.

“It also dwells on reviews of all the memoranda of understanding that we have had on trade and investments; so that we can update, modernise them. It would also enable us to be sure that they carry net benefits for the Nigerian economy, in terms of improved dynamics, and also in terms of job creation.”

The DG said the office is allocating responsibilities to its staff after which the review will commence.

“We have to be certain that investments in the Nigerian market provide a spur to the global market in partnerships with Nigerian producers and industrialists,” he said.

“In subsequent MoUs and trade agreements, we have to be certain that there are calculable benefits for jobs and creation of massive employment opportunities for growth, in ways that are connected to value chains.

“After the decision by the federal executive council on May 10, the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiation was established, we are just putting up the physical office this week, and the staffers are settling into their offices. For now, we are working out agenda, writing up job descriptions, allocating responsibilities, after which we commence.”

Osakwe said the work to be carried out by the agency can be likened to that done by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former coordinating minister of the economy.

“The actions we are about embarking on are comparable to the situation we had many years ago, before Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ,the former coordinating minister of the economy established a comprehensive debt register for the country,” said Osakwe.

“Recall, we did not have a debt register prior to the time she did that. So, we want to have a comparable thing in the area of Trade. We have agreements and trade scattered, all over, and it is time to have a data bank.”