By Ikenna Uwadileke, Abuja.
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on Monday in Abuja inaugurated the Nigeria Trade Information Portal (NTIP), in fulfilment of World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade facilitation agreement.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, described the portal as an outcome of collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), with support from the European Union and German Technical Cooperation.
“As you are aware, UNCTAD commenced the establishment of trade information portals in three West African countries, namely Nigeria, Benin and Mali as a pilot phase in 2016.
“This is with a view to assisting developing WTO member countries in complying easily with the WTO-Trade Facilitation Agreement.
“Today, it is with great satisfaction that we acknowledge the success of the collaboration between UNCTAD, GIZ, EU and the Federal Government. Our ties have indeed become stronger over the years,” he said.
The minister said that the online information portal, which clearly defined import, export and transit procedures, was a great step toward the enhancement of transparency, predictability and a mechanism for trade facilitation reforms in Nigeria.
“NITP is not only a tool to enhance transparency, in accordance with Article 1 of the WTO-TFA, but also to identify bottlenecks and unnecessary administrative constraints and also to drive the expected reforms for trade facilitation.
“Establishment of NITP is a major breakthrough for automation of trade procedures in Nigeria.
“It is important to state that trade information portals in some pioneer countries have contributed to building trust between various stakeholders,” he said.
Adebayo said that some of the key features of the NITP —https://nigeriatradepprtal.fmiti.gov.ng. — included a content management system where all texts, colours, pictures and logos of the public interface could be modified.
“Others are procedures and all corresponding data can be registered and updated, menus can be organised and administrative rights can be easily configured from password-protected administrative interface.
“System administration requires no computer expertise and can be mastered after few hours of training,” he added.