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Cablegate: Nigeria - 2007 President's Report On Agoa

VZCZCXRO9315
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0441/01 0670757
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 080757Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8803
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 6284
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0146
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0144
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000441

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W (SILSKI) AND AF/EPS (POTASH)
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USTR (AGAMA)

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: ETRD AGOA ECON NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA - 2007 PRESIDENT'S REPORT ON AGOA

REF: STATE 22438

ABUJA 00000441 001.2 OF 002


1. In response to reftel, this cable contains Nigeria's submission
for the 2007 President's Report on AGOA.
.
Market Economy/Economic Reform/Elimination of Trade Barriers
--------------------------------------------- --------
.
2. The Nigerian government (GON) is working towards reducing the
size of the government and increasing the private sector in the
economy. The GON has shown its commitment to privatizing state
enterprises in 2006, by privatizing Nigeria Telecommunications Ltd
(Nitel), and its mobile subsidiary, Nigerian Mobile
Telecommunications Ltd (Mtel), and the only government-owned
petrochemical company. The GON also sold its interest in eight oil
service companies. Nigeria continued implementation of the ECOWAS
Common External Tariff in 2006. Nigeria's implementation of
non-tariff barriers has been arbitrary and uneven and it continues
to violate WTO prohibitions against trade bans. However, the GON
removed some textiles from its list of prohibited imports in 2006.
Other barriers to trade are long delays in port clearances and
sudden changes in product standards and methods of customs
inspections. Enforcement of criminal penalties against IPR
violations is weak, and firms that are successfully countering IPR
piracy generally have had to do so through civil court cases. An
amendment to the copyright and trademarks legislation that would
create an intellectual property commission is expected to be
submitted by the executive to the legislature for its consideration
before the end of the first quarter of 2007.
.
Political Pluralism/Rule of Law/Anti-Corruption
--------------------------------------------- --
.
3. General elections are scheduled for April 2007. The elections
with more than 35 political parties scheduled to participate, would
usher in a new government and mark an end to President Obasanjo's
eight year tenure. Civil and criminal cases move slowly through
Nigeria's courts. The country's judicial system lacks the resources
to function effectively. In response to public demand, Shari'a
(Islamic law) was established in 12 of Nigeria's northern states.
The GON has taken steps to tackle corruption, such as establishing
two anti-corruption commissions and announcing measures to improve
fiscal responsibility in federal budgeting and procurement. There
have been allegations of selective enforcement of anti-corruption
laws for political purposes. Since the inception of these bodies,
the government has won one conviction against a senior government
official, obtaining a mild sentence. There are corruption cases
involving senior GON officials and state governors pending before
various courts in the country. In July 2006, Nigeria was removed
from the Financial Action Task Force list of Non-Cooperative
Countries and Territories.
.
Poverty Reduction
-----------------
.
4. The GON's economic reform program, the National Economic
Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) is due for review in
2007. In 2006, Nigeria began a Policy Support Instrument (PSI) with
the IMF. The PSI is a new approach to economic monitoring by the
IMF, and it is based on the country's ownership of its reform
program. Nigeria's NEEDS has had successful quarterly reviews by
the IMF.
.
Labor/Child Labor
-----------------
.
5. The constitution recognizes the right of workers to join or form
trade unions. Restrictions on that right remain, despite the repeal
of some of the anti-labor decrees from the military era. A 2005
amendment to the labor law further limited the conditions under
which unions may undertake legal strikes. Workers in Export
Processing Zones may not join a union until 10 years after the
anniversary date of the enterprise establishment. Less than ten
percent of the total workforce is organized. Minimum wages, the
length of the workday or workweek, and general health and safety
provisions are statutorily mandated, but enforcement remains weak

6. Nigeria has ratified all eight of the International Labor
Organization (ILO) core conventions including Convention 138 on
minimum age and 182 on the worst forms of child labor. Nigeria
ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on April 16,
1991, and the convention was adopted as a domestic law in September
2003, but very few states have passed the Child Rights Act into law
so far. Nigerian law forbids forced or bonded labor and restricts

ABUJA 00000441 002.2 OF 002


the employment of children younger than 15 to home-based
agricultural or domestic work for no more than eight hours per day;
nonetheless, child labor remains a problem. The ILO is working with
the Nigerian government and civil society as part of the ILO's
International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor. The
Nigerian government launched awareness and law-familiarization
training programs for law enforcement, customs and other officials
and has provided additional training in child labor issues for labor
inspection officers. Nigeria is participating in the West African
Cocoa Agriculture Project to eliminate the worst forms of child
labor from the cocoa sector. Private and government initiatives to
stem the incidence of child employment continued but were largely
ineffective. Investigations of child trafficking are hampered by
official corruption.

CAMPBELL

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