(1) Nigeria is offering 99 year leases and three year tax holidays to any international investor who comes and invests in her cattle industry. Foreign investors are needed in the animal feed production, leather processing, milk production and ranch maintenance sectors
(2) Nigeria wants to expand her cattle population to 100m from the current 20m over the next 10 years. This will create a massive surplus for exports, so Nigeria wants the WTO to press its member states to open up their markets to Nigerian beef, cattle, dairy products and leather goods
(3) Any animal husbandry machinery manufacturer who comes to open shop in Nigeria employing at least 500 staff will be granted a five year tax holiday. Nigeria wants WTO members to offer any such companies within their countries access to interest-free loans
(4) Australia, Mexico and the European Union each export at least 1m head of cattle a year. By 2025, Nigeria intends to match this. Nigeria wants a WTO agreement under which such livestock exports remain tarrif-free as meat is a basic food item
(5) At the moment, 12 countries account for 86% of the world’s beef production. To provide for a level playing field for new entrants like Nigeria, the WTO must offer poor buyers like impoverished African nations access to export credit
(6) Globally, the beef export industry is worth an estimated $51.7bn. To prevent the abuse of food safety as an excuse for protectionism, Nigeria wants to the WTO to have the final say on all animal health matters. Any decision to bar imports on food safety grounds must be approved by a WTO inspector before it becomes valid
(7) European countries account for about $14bn worth of beef exports annually, representing about 26.9% of the global total. Nigeria wants a WTO agreement making European Union subsidy payments to livestock farmers illegal to make the playing field level
(8) Turkey imports about 67,000 cattle from Brazil and Uruguay annually from ranches on the South American pampas. Nigeria would like WTO standardisation of cattle ranches globally, so all suppliers are competing on an equal footing
(9) France has cornered several African beef markets where it enjoys a virtual monopoly using its status as a former colonial master. For instance, France exports 11,000 live cattle to Morocco and 38,000 to Algeria annually. Nigeria wants a WTO agreement that there will be no French restrictions on competitive trading
(10) Given that Nigeria plans to invest heavily in cattle and beef transportation equipment such as livestock ocean liners, refrigerated trains, mobile abattoirs, etc, she would like a WTO agreement that member states will offer tax breaks to any companies that come to open manufacturing plants in Nigeria
As we come out of this pandemic lockdown, the world basically needs to double industrial output and Africa simply has to contribute its quota this time around. We cannot continue to live as parasites, so President Buhari actually has a strong case here, pointing out that Nigeria wants to join the ranks of the producers rather than remain an eternal consumer expecting handouts.
If President Buhari can get this document approved by his cabinet this week, he can take it to Geneva next week and submit it. All Ngozi then has to do is present it to the general assembly for debate.
Frederik Agah, Nigeria’s permanent representative to the WTO, should be able to win this argument easily. If Nigeria is adding something like $10bn to global GDP, surely nobody can oppose that.