NANTS was formed in Lagos by a group of traders in October 1997.The organisation was formed as a human rights and mediating force during the military regime of General Abacha when traders, perhaps owing to their perceived ignorance were suffering from arbitrary harassments, arrests and intimidation in the hands of uniformed men who sometimes carted away their goods with impunity. From the original name Association of Nigerian Traders(ANTS), the organisation has transformed into a national body with changes and spread across gender and sectoral balance, and essentially influencing government policies and practices in different ways
The mission of NANTS is “promoting trade and economic advancement, and championing the rights of the entrepreneurs through strategic programmes and policy interventions”.
The vision of NANTS is “advancing trade beyond buying and selling to a vehicle for social justice, human rights, sustainable development and poverty reduction”.
NANTS has a dual set of specific objectives as follows:
(A) Rights Objectives
1. To monitor, represent and defend Nigerian traders and small producers pursuant to justice and fairness by means of legal aid.
- To reduce illiteracy among Nigerian traders and small producers by educating them on various regulations, laws and policy undertones of government through seminars, workshops, lectures and symposia.
- To sponsor, support and promote government or individual programmes and/or activities aimed at promoting gender diversity and the eradication of voice poverty especially on general trade related issues.
To eradicate complacency in the Nigerian traders and small producers, and encourage visible input in the political, economic, social and cultural issues that affect them, thereby building a civilized army of traders and small producers within the confines of democratic norms capable of a match with counterparts in the developed parts of the world.
To arbitrate maximally and effectively in the settlement of inevitable trade disputes in the course of business or transactions between traders and governments, and/or individuals and corporate bodies.
To create and invoke consciousness of the concept of advocacy in the Nigerian traders and small producers towards ensuring reforms in regulations and policies that impede or stifle trade and socio – economic development.
To encourage and promote an all-round application and hoisting of high ethical standards in business practices.
To promote the principles and practice of fundamental human rights among our constituent members in Nigeria as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in accordance with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR).
(B) Trade And Economic Development Objectives
1. To represent/liaise and affiliate with such sectors as banking, communication, manufacturing, Ministries and chambers of commerce whose activities are in concomitance with trade for a stable and progressive national economic growth.
To establish a medium of interface between local and foreign trading partners, identify genuine traders and encouragetrade venture partnership between traders and serve as a go-between in the course of business interactions.
To accredit and guarantee members livelihoods through facilitation of micro credit funds/loans and facilities and assist in providing security where necessary for business growth, SME’s development strategy and wealth creation.
To organize, accredit and/or package traders on fairs, tours, exhibitions and general trade missions to ensure that benefits ofmarket access opportunities are optimized.
To engage in the publication of books, magazines and periodicals as well as research, collate, issue reports and keep relevant data on general trade information, commerce and economic development.
To enlighten the society and create awareness on relevant Trading Information System (TIS) and technology that aid and facilitate trade, e.g., e-commerce in line with contemporary global trends.
To raise funds, and set up trust funds and receive donations/contributions in support of reconstruction/rehabilitation of markets and in aid of affected traders.
To contribute in sanitizing Nigerian trading environment from such unethical activities as drug peddling, fraud, human trafficking, smuggling, child labour, product faking, etc, which are inimical to economic development.
To promote enlightenment campaigns on environmental hazards, HIV AIDS and dangers inherent in the sale of expired, stolen, substandard or adulterated goods.
To provide database of information at the secretariat for prompt and easy accessibility by members, the government and the general public.
Field(s) of activity:
NANTS work is centred on core good governance advocacy from a rights-based angle, intervening also on trade, agriculture and relevant development issues, within the geographical coverage of Nigeria and Pan-Africa wise. NANTS offers a voice to the poor, vulnerable and marginalised. Governments and institutions also benefit from NANTS policy interventions.