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  • ***In Abuja, today (19th June), ECOWAS-15 Regional Stakeholders commenced technical meeting to finalize the Market Access Offer (Schedule) of Tariff Concessions for Trade in Goods, for the operational launch of the AfCFTA, in July, 2019 *** The Goods Market Access Offer (Schedule) shall establish the 90% level of ambition (non-sensitive) and sensitive lists, and staging periods, for the ECOWAS-15, in the AfCFTA. In the AfCFTA, the ECOWAS-15 is negotiating, collectively, as a Customs Union (CU), with a common, undifferentiated Goods Schedule that shall preserve its integrity as a Customs Union *** Nigerian Trade Negotiators were in Addis from 20th May to 8th June to participate at technical negotiations, policy meetings and bilateral engagements, preparatory to the 12thExtraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) for the “Operational Launch” of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, scheduled for Niamey, Niger, on 7th July. Ambassador Osakwe, Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, led the Nigerian Delegation *** In Addis, the Nigerian Delegation participated at the meetings of the 15th Negotiating Forum (NF) of the AfCFTA; Senior Trade Officials (STOs) of the African Union; and, the 8th Meeting of the African Ministers of Trade (AMOT). Ambassador Osakwe, DG NOTN and Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Industry and Trade Commissioner, with their Teams, undertook a detailed technical review of the legal and policy status of the AfCFTA and the envisaged draft package to be submitted for decisions to the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Niamey Summit *** WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Meeting in Paris, participated at the WTO Informal Ministerial meeting on 23 May. Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, at the WTO Informal Ministerial, urged Ministers to address systemic challenges and advance negotiating work in parallel. Azevêdo advised intensified work on fisheries subsidies, if there was to be a successful outcome by the agreed end-of-year deadline ***

Nigeria Launches Coalition of Services Industries (NCIS)

The Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) on Tuesday, 24th July, in Abuja, launched the “Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries” (NCSI) with the strong support of Private Sector Market Operators, Regulators and Competent Authorities. The NCSI will function as a lobby group to support trade in services; validate services priorities for Nigeria; and, formulate inputs and advice on positions for Nigeria in domestic, regional, continental and multilateral trade negotiations. The NCIS will identify measures for improving Nigeria’s competitiveness for Trade in Services. The NCIS shall act as the private sector and Competent Authority foundation to support the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) in all negotiations, with data, advice and Stakeholder positions for Trade in Services. The inauguration of the NCSI was chaired by Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator and Director General, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN). The Launch was attended by Regulators, Organized Private Sector and Services Industry operators. In the evolving structure, the NCSI will be jointly coordinated by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chaired by the Director-General of the NOTN. In his opening remarks the Director General of NOTN, Ambassador Osakwe said: “The Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries (NCSI) was an overdue necessity to re-balance the national dialogue and exchange of views on trade and economic policy matters relevant to diversification, and accelerating recovery and growth”. He told the meeting that even “at the regional level, in ECOWAS there was no Schedule for Specific Commitments on Trade in Services”. This was a gap that required urgent filling, more so because services accounted for approximately 54% of the Nigerian economy”. He said “Trade in Services was not only the fastest-growing area of the domestic but also the global economy. Services would contribute to the diversification and re-balancing of the Nigerian Economy”. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian Services Sector contributes 54.3% to Nigeria’s GDP. In the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) the role of the Services sector in Nigeria’s economic recovery and growth was prioritized around four Service sectors: Telecommunication; Information & Communication Technology; Tourism; as well as Financial & Creative Industries. It is envisaged that these sectors would contribute to diversifying the Nigerian economy away from over dependence on oil. The Launch of the NCSI initiated the process of examining an updated and 21st Century Draft Schedule of Specific Commitments for Trade in Services that would signal Nigeria as pro-trade and business, pro-investment, development- and, rules-based. Participants at the inaugural meeting welcomed the establishment of the NCIS as a positive and overdue development in a critical but undervalued sector of the economy. Membership of the Nigerian Services Coalition will include representatives of: Operators: Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Institute of Chartered Accountants, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture , Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises , Nurses and Midwives Association of Nigeria, Movie Producers Association of Nigeria, Association of Movie and Film Producers of Nigeria, and other individual operators as would be identified. Regulators: Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Communication Technology, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry Education, Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigeria Shippers Council, Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Communication Commission, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, and other Government Agencies as may be identified.