Progressives Governors Forum backs Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination as WTO DG

The All Progressives Governors’ Forum has backed the nomination of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

They also commended President Muhamadu Buhari for nominating her for the position.

This was contain in a statement signed by the special adviser to the governor of Kebbi state and Chairman, Progressive Governors’ Forum Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Yahaya Sarki on Wednesday.

He said the WTO has over the years failed to meet the expectations of its members thus, the need for a change.

“That the world trade system has not worked well and with mixed result, is perhaps, an understatement. The dream of a cooperative system that benefit all countries is stunted by practices that limit trade, capital and Labour mobility.

“Countries, developed and developing agree on the need for such a system but in reality progress has been rather slow. This should not be so. Attempts to create a trading arrangement that shall benefit all has been fraught with difficulties and the stronger nations tend to be most favored by current or even previous arrangement.

The quest for advantageous trade led tragically to both slavery and colonialism, two horrible trade systems. Numerous wars, including World Wars I & II were caused to a large extent by trade considerations. While the current World Trade Organisation arrangement is a significant improvement, it is yet to achieve equitable progress, particularly for the weaker members.

“The main objective in creating the World Trade Organisation is to create a trading system that is equitable and with least distortions. Regretably, while being an improvement on the GATT, the WTO is yet to deliver in achieving the objectives. Worst still is that it is perceived as impotent. The exit of UK from EU and the brick bratt between the US and China is illustrative of the difficulties with bilateral trade agreements talk less a global one. The failure of the WTO to reach an agreement on agriculture, for example is punitive to all of Africa.

The statement said the WTO need to be refocused to handle trade issues arising as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Furthermore, the literal freezing of world trade occasioned by the Coronavirus Pandemic serve as a stark warning that we need to have a better trade system. Whoever imagined that one country can ‘’seize” medical supplies going to other countries? Fixing the global trading system is one of the most important challenges of our time and doing so shall contribute to global prosperity more than any agreement.

“ In so doing poverty shall be reduced and global prosperity shall be more equitably shared. Reforming the World Trade Organisation is at the heart of any of such quest, and thus the choice of the next leader of the organisation matters.

The statement further described Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination as the best for the organisation

“In nominating our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President Buhari is not just presenting a Nigerian Candidate but is presenting to the world one of its best, albeit from Nigeria, and one who is eminently qualified to lead the task of fixing the world trading system.

“ An economist, international development expert and a global public servant, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is one candidate that come with all the experiences and expertise required to reposition the WTO. Both President Buhari and Dr. Okonjo-Iweala deserve commendation for giving the world the opportunity towards correcting the distortions in the world trading system, ” the statement said.

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