07/Mar/2017 // 311 Viewers
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Centre for Values in Leadership, said cross border trade promoted by ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) was vital to promoting trade and economic integration in the region.
Senior Vice President of the organization, Mr Rasheed Adegbenro, said this in Abuja on Monday during a policy dialogue on combating corruption along Nigeria-ECOWAS trade routes.
In a paper entitled “Inhibitions to Domestic and Cross Border Trade and Remedial Measures by all Stakeholders’’, he said trade activities rewarded producers of goods and services through revenue, and government, in tariff revenue.
Adegbenro said that apart from the benefits, disruption and challenges in economics could frustrate or cause dislocation in the economy where appropriate measures were not in place to mitigate abuses along a trader corridor.
“No sacrifice is too great to formalise the current informal trade very dominant in the region.
“This can be achieved by reducing administrative documentations with human intervention required in the processing of trade transactions,’’ he said.
Adegbenro said in order to improve cross border trade, trans-regional trademarks should be promoted to improve brand equity of manufactured products in the region and reduce product discrimination.
He said that Public-Private Partnership should be adopted to evolve a national trade bank as export development financial window.
He called for appropriate funding of National Approval Authority (NAC), to be promoted to facilitate frequent meetings of the authority.
Adegbenro said the application for ETLS should be done online to reduce human intervention in the approval process and associated bottleneck.
“Nigeria should give high priority to creation and linkage with the railway network in the region,’’ he said.
Mrs Omoyemisi Akinola, Trade Policy and Facilitation Unit, Deutscche Gesellschaft Fur International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), called for application of Trade Route Incident Mapping System (TRIMS).
According to her, GIZ is a mechanism that will help to formulate evidence-based policies.
Akinola, in her paper on TRIMS, said that for traders and transporters, route mapping was an initiative that would help them to report delays, harassments and irregular payment while moving goods.
She said that TRIMS was co-funded by German Government and the European Union and implemented by Pro-Poor Growth and Promotion of Employment (SEDIN) programme, GIZ Nigeria and that it was a six-year project.
Akinola said that the objective was to tackle the issue of non-tariff barriers in Nigeria and support the country’s strive to improve its doing business and global competitiveness rankings.
She said that TRIMS would help to address multiple levies, delays, harassment and other illegal non-tariff barriers.
Akinola said that so far, more than 2,200 reports had been received as of March, 2017 from the pilot state, Ogun.
She said with TRIMS, more than 4,000 traders had been sensitised and educated on other relevant issues for traders, including HIV and AIDS.
She recommended the regular training of the officers, especially with regards to the scope and limits of the protocols and related matters.
Mr Chris Kaka, a management expert, said border official operated in total disregard of ECOWAS protocol of free movement of persons, goods and capital.
Kaka, who is with Chartered Institute of Financial and Investment Analysts Nigeria (CIFIAN) called for the sensitisation and awareness creation for traders on their rights and obligations in the conduct of their business.
He said that there was need for advocacy towards the review of ECOWAS court provision-private party breach of trade related grievance.
Kaka called for capacity building, anti-corruption reform, reduction of government agencies along trade routes and border posts.
He also called for the training and retraining of officials to inculcate and sustain strong ethical behaviour in the discharge of their duties as border agents of government. (NAN)