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Operators support government’s review of ECOWAS treaty over trade abuse

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NIGERIAN-MARITIME
Operators in the nation’s manufacturing sector have rallied support for government’s call to review the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Treaty over what they described as abuse of trade protocols by neighbouring countries.

According to the operators, such abuse has led to loss of revenue and subsequent drop in capacity of many manufacturing plants in the country.

Indeed, the Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Gas Users Group, Dr. Michael Adebayo, decried the abuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) by member states, thus leading to loss of revenue and decline in manufacturing activities in Nigeria.

Besides, the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA) equally affirmed the position stating that many fabrics were being imported into the country through neighbouring countries under the guise of the ETLS.

To address the challenges, the Senate, had urged the Federal Government to suspend forthwith the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade liberalisation scheme and Common External Tariffs (CET).

Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma, titled: “The Abuse of Customs Tariff and Indiscriminate Issuance of Fiscal Policies and the negative impact on the national economy,” the upper chamber urged government to review the process of enacting the tariff to identify all abuses and revenue leakages.

He noted that the fall out of the formation of ECOWAS was the ratification of CET and ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) in year 2000.

According to him, ECOWAS integration package in the place should not have been signed, as “Nigeria was not and is still not in the same economic level with other West African countries.”

Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech at the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, said: “We need to make conscious efforts to improve on Governance and accountability at all levels. This calls for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and prepare us for the challenges of such Institutional reforms. To this end, we should ensure that priority is given to the implementation of development programmes, while the ECOWAS Parliament should be entrusted with more functions.

“In addition, the cost of governance must be reduced across all ECOWAS Institutions while resources should be devoted to programmes and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population. In this regard, it is necessary that measures be taken to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make ECOWAS responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.

“Our modest achievements in regional integration are being challenged by globalisation. Today, most of our countries continue to record low volume of trade.”



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