The Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Tuesday that President Bola Tinubu, is not unaware of the pains Nigerians are undergoing as a result of the removal of petrol subsidy.
Okonjo-Iweala, who met with President Bola Tinubu at presidential villa, Abuja, however, explained that her visit to Tinubu was not in her capacity as the WTO helmsman.
Speaking with newsmen, the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy revealed that the crux of the meeting was to work out modalities on how to help Nigeria alleviate the suffering of its citizens.
“That’s what’s needed now, helping Nigerians to alleviate the difficult conditions that they are in.”
The WTO DG, who was accompanied to the Villa by former Minister of State for Health and minister-designate, Dr Mohammed Pate, said that their conversation with the president centred around formulating approaches aimed at job creation, foster women’s empowerment, and bolster digital trade within Nigeria’s economy.
Her words, “This was not really an official WTO mission, but we were able to engage with Mr President to talk about what are the kinds of programmes that could be put in place to make sure that Nigerians are okay. We had a conversation on trying to look at community and grassroots programmes that can be put in place to create jobs for young people trying to support women and children who are bearing the brunt of some of the suffering in the country.”
She noted that the visit afforded them the opportunity to also talk about investment for the longer term in the many other sectors in the country including the pharmaceutical industry.
“We also talked about what type of support the World Trade Organization can bring.
“We are already working in Nigeria with women in particular, who own small and medium enterprises to try to help them upgrade the quality of their products, whether it’s in the agricultural area, textiles, and in other areas so that they can sell more internationally.
“We’re trying to help them with digital trade. The wave of the future is digital trade. So, how do we train and empower Nigerian women and small and medium enterprises throughout the country, create more jobs?
“That’s what’s needed now in Nigeria to alleviate these difficult conditions that they are in. So, that is what we discussed with Mr President and as the Director General of the World Trade Organization, we’re going to try to do the most we can to support Nigerians at this particular time.”
Also speaking, Pate, a former Chief Executive Officer of GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, corroborated the remarks of the WTO Director General, adding that Tinubu is actively working to ameliorate the suffering of the citizens.
He assured that the current difficulty is transitory, noting that the president is committed to all intervention measures that will bring succour to the people.
Pate spoke on plans to promote grassroots programmes to support women and youth as well as prioritising health particularly health insurance, primary healthcare and hospital care.