Nigeria and other member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will receive about N12 billion ($20m) for fisheries development, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on Wednesday. This is in a move geared towards prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies.
WTO is an intergovernmental organization that regulates and facilitates international trade. Governments use the organization to establish, revise, and enforce the rules that govern international trade.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, who leads as the Director General at WTO, revealed this development in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment.
She said the end of the World Trade Ministerial Conference, which ended in June, WTO adopted six major resolutions, but the most important is that which has to do with fisheries subsidies which have been unsuccessful for the past 21 years, but this year we were able to agree on that aspect.
She said the fisheries agreement is part of the six agreements enforced by world trade ministers while expressing the commitment of the WTO to provide capacity for developing fisheries in the country.
“We are committing about $20m to our fisheries fund to fast-track legal fisheries development and curb illegal subsidies,” Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said.
“Nigeria is part of the deal and I came to ensure implementation is in top gear because it is a crucial step in moving the world’s fisheries toward long-term sustainability and in multilateral efforts to address subsidies that harm the natural environment and the well-being of vulnerable communities,” the WTO DG explained.
She added that with the adoption of the agreement, the WTO now prohibits subsidies for vessels and operators engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing and establishes new rules for subsidies for the fishing of stocks that are already over-exploited.
“It also prohibits subsidies for fishing of stocks on the high seas that are not managed by regional bodies,” she added.