Okonjo-Iweala advises Nigeria on access to fisheries funds

The Director-General, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has advised the Federal Government to ensure the conditions spelt out during the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference that took place in Geneva, Switzerland on access to fisheries funds are met.

The WTO DG gave this advice in Abuja yesterday during a visit to the Minister of State, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, in Abuja, emphasising the need for the country to benefit from WTO Fisheries funding.

Okonjo-Iweala’s visit came barely a month after the WTO’s Council of Ministers meeting, which was held in Geneva between June 12 to 17, with a major focus on improving trade, health, food security, and economic reforms which aim at building economic resilience globally.

She explained that Fisheries Funding Mechanism is envisioned to support developing and least-developed countries in implementing a prospective agreement to curb harmful fisheries subsidies.

During the12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), the DG reportedly said: “We all know that a healthy, productive, sustainable, blue economy is one where our oceans are replenished, where our fish stocks are also healthy, and where fishermen and fisherwomen who depend on such resources continue to earn a decent living.’’

“Many members have told us that they need capacity building and technical assistance to better manage their fisheries and implement the disciplines that will be in the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. This Fund is something that will be incredibly important to help us help those who need it.”

She pointed out that about 260 million people depend on fishery for their daily survival, adding that 12 million of these people are in Africa.

She, therefore, advised Nigeria to deposit the instrument of acceptance in WTO as well as fine-tune other things required for the country to benefit.

Speaking, the Minister commended the Director-General for her sterling leadership and tenacity that led to the positive outcomes of the MC12.

Katagum assured that Nigeria would not rest on her oars in the implementation of the outcomes of the Conference, adding that steps have been taken to ensure timely and effective implementation of these outcomes. Nigeria welcomes the outcomes of the MC12 and notes the great progress that the MC12 made.

“We note, however, that we must not rest on our oars but should take this success recorded at the MC12 as a sign that with the right leadership, a lot can be done and we must build on this momentum to make progress in all other outstanding areas of work at the WTO,” the minister said.

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