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Cablegate: Agoa Eligibilty Review for Nigeria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 002856

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ETRD PHUM PREL NI
SUBJECT: AGOA ELIGIBILTY REVIEW FOR NIGERIA


REF: A. STATE 191161
B. 00 ABUJA 9427
C. 00 STATE 110733
D. 00 STATE 127971
E. 00 STATE 126813


1. Post has reviewed all documents relating to AGOA
eligibility for Nigeria including reftels C, D and E, the
2000 Human Rights Report, this year,s report on trafficking
in women and children, and the first draft of the 2001 Human
Rights Report.


2. The following is an update of the information provided
previously in response to ref A.


Item 4.1.A: The GON continues to make slow progress in
developing an open economy, minimizing government
interference and promoting free market principles.
Privatization of the national telecommunications monopoly
(NITEL) is scheduled to take place before year-end 2001.
Privatization of the National Insurance Company (NICON),
ship-builder Nigerdock, the New Nigerian Newspapers and other
public enterprises continue to move forward faster than many
international experts forecasted.


Item 4.1.B: Ethnic and religious tension increased sharply in
the last half of 2001, with communal clashes in parts of the
country claiming a few thousand lives. Despite these
difficulties, the GON has on several occasions restated its
commitment to the rule of law, political pluralism and human
rights. Work remains to be done in implementing these
rights, however. The GON has programs underway to reform the
military, police force and judicial system. The Obasanjo
Administration does not have a policy of supporting human
rights abuses. Freedom of speech and of the press is largely
respected. Limited resources to train security forces in
proper techniques and respect for human rights have limited
GON success in preventing individual members of security
agencies, including police and military personnel, from
abusing the rights of fellow citizens.


Item 4.1.C: The GON continues to move toward policies
eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment.
Currently, the GON is seeking to harmonize, and add
transparency to, existing investment codes and regulations.
The GON is moving in the direction of lower tariffs,
particularly for manufacturing inputs, and has established
export-processing zones where exporters can receive special
duty treatment. The GON has made progress on restructuring
the intellectual property rights regime; draft legislation to
create a quasi-independent IPR office is pending approval by
the Executive Council. Additionally, our two governments are
restructuring the bilateral economic dialogue in order to
achieve concrete progress in trade and investment between the
two nations.


Item 4.1.D: Although the GON expresses commitment to poverty
alleviation, progress has been slow. Gross Domestic Product
grew only 3.2 percent in 2000, barely exceeding population
growth. The vast majority of wealth in the country continues
to be held by a multi-ethnic elite that, however, represents
a small percentage of the population. The Niger Delta
Development Commission was created to address health care and
educational deficiencies in one of Nigeria's least developed
regions. However, the NDDC has not yet received the total
funding necessary to fulfill its mandate. The GON is also
committed to developing a Poverty Reduction Strategy in
cooperation with the IMF. This medium-term strategy may
accelerate progress in poverty reduction.


Item 4.1.E: Efforts against corruption have not abated, but
neither have these efforts registered successes with major
positive effect on the macro-economy. A Budget Monitoring
and Price Unit has been established to provide due process
for all government procurements. Additionally, the GON has
cooperated in auditing all end-2000 and 2001 capital
projects. As part of the current IMF policy framework, the
GON has agreed to publish the results of the audits.


Item 4.1.F.2: The GON does not engage in activities that
undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.
President Obasanjo has been at the forefront of African
Heads of State by unconditionally and publicly supporting
U.S. effort to find and bring to justice the perpetrators of
the September 11 attacks and to combat terrorism globally.


Item 5: Nigeria has agreed to, but not yet ratified, ILO
Conventions 182, Worst Form of Child Labor, and 138, Minimum
Age for Employment. Legislation prohibits children under 15
years to work in most sectors and outlaws forced or
compulsory labor. However, enforcement is weak. Post will
address issues related to child labor in more detail via
septel.
Andrews

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