FG Begs Iran’s Vote To Elect Okonjo-Iweala Into WTO

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The Federal Government has solicited for the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s vote for Nigerian candidate, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is vying for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ahead of the forth-coming election.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, placed the plea before the Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mohammed Alibak who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.

The Minister said Nigeria would rely on Iran’s support for the election of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwela as the next DG for WTO, and that if elected, it would be the first time an African will occupy the position since its establishment on 1st January 1995.

Otunba Adebayo further said the Bilateral Trade Agreements (BTA) earlier signed between the two countries in 2001, Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) in 2008, the establishment of Nigeria-Iran Joint Commission in 2004 and Iran Chamber, Industry, Mines and Agriculture in 2016 should be sustained.

He said: ‘’I assure you that my team is in the process of renewing these commitments and I will explore you to get your team to work with ours to appraise the current situation of these agreements and kickstart efforts toward renewal and implementation of our mutually beneficial commitments’’.

He assured the Ambassador that Nigeria will work with Islamic Republic of Iran to improve on the current low trade volumes as both countries have great potential that can leverage on considering the fact that the two countries are oil dependent economies.

“We can also share knowledge and best practices on economic diversification and our national development goals as Buhari’s led Administration is pushing to diversify the economy into the non-oil sector through various initiatives and a strategic partnership in the industrialization of key sectors that can boost efforts towards export of Iran and Nigeria”, he said .

The Minister called on Iranian Investors to come to Nigeria to invest in the numerous Export Processing Zones (EPZs), in the country in view of the various incentives available to investors and to pursue partnerships in Nigeria’s economic development initiatives in sectors such as; Fertilizer Production, Tractor Assembly, Persian Rug Manufacturing, Mine and Steel Industries as well as Garment Production.

Earlier, Ambassador Mohammed Alibak said that Iran is willing to help Nigeria in the areas of technology development, water supply and engineering among others, adding that an invitation will be sent to the Minister to visit the Agricultural Industrial Machinery Show in Iran.

Amb. Alibak further harped on the need for a joint commission between the two countries as Nigeria is one of the best countries in Africa in terms of trade with Iran.

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