The ECOWAS Monitoring Task Force on the implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) on Tuesday met with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to deliberate on the low trade in the West Africa region.
Mr Nwagwu Julius, the spokesperson of the delegation, made the disclosure when the task force paid courtesy visit to the Shippers’ Council in Abuja.
“This is the ECOWAS task force set up by the ECOWAS heads of state, arising from the realisation that the ECOWAS region has made some progress in terms of political integration of the region.
“However, the main focus of the establishment of ECOWAS in 1975, which is economy integration, has being lagging behind.
“Whereas many other regions have made some appreciable progress in terms of trade, to the extent of revolving their inter regional trade to about 45 per cent above, unfortunately, the West African inter regional trade stands between 10 and 12 per cent.’’
According to him, the task force has been going on advocacy visit to all the 15 neighbouring countries including Nigeria since 2017.
Responding, the Executive Secretary of Shippers Council, Mr Hassan Bello said the council has been statutorily empowered to ensure that condition of liberal trade is carried out, especially in Nigeria, to remove all barriers affecting trade.
He said that Nigeria has not been able to standardise the issue of infrastructure, stating that the task force was a good idea.
According to him, the council is canvassing for common laws on the issue of adjudication in the area of conflict resolution.
“We are protecting the interest of shippers in their trade and also the private sector to move the economy forward; it is important that the private sector is introduced to trade.
“The NSC ensures free flow of goods, we remove barriers, increase trade, we implement the measures of international trade by introducing dry port to decongest seaport.
“The dry port will remove a lot of barriers to ease trade and cost of trade, we also promote the establishment of truck transit parks,’’ the NSC boss said.