Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) have raised alarm about involving Nigeria in international agreements when they have to do with trade which has taken technical dimension in contemporary times. President of NANTS, Mr Ken Ukaoha, who spoke yesterday in Abuja on resisting Nigeria’s participation in the e-commerce negotiations at the World Trade Organisation ( WHO) frowned at the understanding that Nigeria is being dragged through the back door without proper analysis and due consultations on the merits and demerits to the nation.
According to him, other countries have submitted a formal document opposing any negotiation on e-commerce at the WTO, and have insisted that they would continue to work under th programme on electronic commerce based on the existing mandate and guidelines adopted by the WTO countries in 1998.
Ukaoha stated that many developing countries were opposed to negotiating rules on e-ecommerce because if agreed upon, will put power over other countries’ future and their economies in the hands of a largely unregulated private oligopoly. He explained that negotiating binding WTO rules on e-commerce were being pushed for by tech giants like, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba among others who control the internet in order to secure rules that will consolidate their power. The NANTS president further explained that given the low level of broadband penetration and the fact that only five per cent of the people in the developing countries use e-commerce platforms, the probability of domestic e- commerce growing in the developing countries and benefit their SMEs absolutely appear to be low.