‘Poor infrastructure, insecurity hinder cross-border trade’
Lack of infrastructure and insecurity have been described as major hindrances to cross-border trade in the West African corridor.
The West African Association for Cross-Border Trade, in Agro-forestry-pastoral, Fisheries products and Food – (WACTAF) lamented that those factors have posed setback to distribution of agricultural products, livestocks, perishable products and fishing across the region.
The group, in a presentation by its President, Alhaji Salami Nasiru Alasoadura, said lack of trailer park, lack of Customs bounded warehouse, electricity, water, hospital and others are posing difficulties to traders.
He also bemoaned lack of Customs connectivity between the Customs commands and Customs stations along the borders.
He also noted that there are no stable policies on (Band goods, export levy on agriculture product, multiple transit levy along the corridors).
Alasoadura said that hunger and high cost of living in almost all regions of the countries, (low soil yield due to climate change and the severe lack of agricultural inputs)
“The lack of infrastructure is a major problem for our populations, the majority of which are made up of young people The members of WACTAF are professional organizations that carry out inter-state trade and which have access to the various corridors by which users transport goods. Eastern Burkina-Faso is an area of great insecurity. This borders the North of Togo and the North-West of Benin.
“Four corridors are affected by insecurity. These are the corridors: Nadiagou-koumpienga-Dapaong (81km); Nadiagou – Pama – Fada (123km); Nadiagou-Porga (36km) and Nadiagou – Namounou – Diapaga (162km).
Alasoadura suggested that a military base be established at Nadiagou that will coordinate all military operations jointly carried out by Beninese, Burkinabé and Togolese soldiers.
He said the return to economic stability in the area depends on several factors including involving locally elected officials, chiefs, and traditional authorities at various levels in the management of the crisis.
He emphasized that the interstate road scheme is one of the best solutions to minimize cost of moving goods and formalize trade by introducing single guarantor and single tracking from loading point to the final destination.
He also noted that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be signed between the guarantors (Nexim Bank, for Nigeria Ghana insurance, Chamber of commerce for C.F.A zone).
To actualize the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), he said the continent needs to harmonized various taxes like VAT statistics and others.
“When we are talking about the Africa continental free zone, some countries their VAT is 18 per cent, some are 19 per cent, some and 12.5 per cent, while some are 7.50 per cent, and this different of levis cannot make some countries to be competitive,” he said.
He described the ECO currency as the one of solution to formalize and minimize smuggling among member state.