Okonjo-Iweala Counsels FG On How To Access WTO Fisheries Funding 

Director-General of World Trade Organisation(WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has counselled Nigeria to be proactive in meeting the conditions spelt out during the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference that took place in Geneva ,Switzerland recently in order to access fisheries funding.

Okonjo-Iweala who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja during her official visit to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, underscored the need for Nigeria to benefit from WTO Fisheries Funding.

Okonjo-Iweala’s visit to Nigeria comes 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.

It would be recalled that during the12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), Okonjo Iweala was quoted to have 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.

In her welcome address, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, commended the Director General of WTO for her sterling leadership and tenacity that led to the positive outcomes at the recently concluded MC12.

Katagum assured that Nigeria would not rest on her laurels in the implementation of the outcomes of the Conference, adding that steps have been taken to ensure timely and effective implementation of these outcomes.”

She said: “Nigeria welcomes the outcomes of the MC12 and notes the great progress that the MC12 made.

She revealed that her Ministry, had deliberated on how Nigeria could implement the Agreement while also taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the newly created WTO Fish fund. 

The agreements reached include one for the establishment of fisheries subsidies which is expected to check unregulated fishing practices in Nigerian waters, the development of fisheries development programs and the establishment of technical services in fisheries data collection

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