Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that part of the role she will play as the World Trade Organisation boss is to reduce export restrictions to make vaccine acquisition and production more inclusive.
The WTO DG and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister disclosed this during a meeting with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha on Tuesday in Abuja.
“The main reason we are here is really to see how the WTO can support Nigeria, in improving its economy. ‘We are in a pandemic and of course, you cannot advance the economy until you take care of the health aspects,” she said.
She said the WTO came to discuss with the Presidential Task Force on what is happening in relation to the arrival of the COVID vaccines, how it is being distributed, and the challenges.
“Part of the challenges we’ve had in this pandemic is the fact that some of our member countries put export restrictions on the movement of medical supplies, equipment, and even supplies to make vaccines.
“So one of the things that WTO can do is to work with members to reduce these export restrictions. If you take vaccines, for instance, I’ll just give you one number from the manufacturer of Pfizer, the Pfizer BioTech vaccine.
”We had a meeting with the manufacturers a couple of days ago in Geneva and their representative said that it takes 280 components to manufacture their vaccine. And it’s in a supply chain that involves 19 countries.
”So in the supply chains, so many of our products, medical products are global. And so when a country puts export restrictions on one, it means that you slow the production everywhere, that’s where the WTO comes in,” she said.
Mustapha disclosed that “developing economies stand to benefit if they learn from the lessons of this adverse impacts and look at their systems, their governance system, their economic foundations. He urged that this is an opportunity to improve economic inclusion to develop agendas and policies.”
In case you missed it
- Recall Nairametrics reported Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is visiting Nigeria for a week to assist entrepreneurs and improve the economy.
- Nairametrics reported yesterday that Okonjo-Iweala stated Nigeria should start looking at establishing the capacity for manufacturing vaccines locally.
- She also added that her role at the World Trade Organisation would be used to support women entrepreneurs, and MSMEs, and all the marginalized and excluded.