Buhari Backs Free Trade Relations With ECOWAS Countries

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As part of measures to promote healthy trade relations between Nigeria and other countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the establishment of a national single window for easy movement of goods along the ECOWAS trade corridors.

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Fifth Conference of Borderless Alliance held in Cotonou, Benin Republic, emphasised that President Buhari believes that countries within the West African sub-region have a lot to gain from operating a national single window for easy movement of goods along border corridors.

A statement yesterday from the ministry, signed by Taiwo Shobajo for Director of Press, stated that the minister noted that single window entails full computerisation of all port entrances and the nation’s border-posts, noting that the system would eliminate time-wasting and corruption at check-points and border-posts, thereby making free trade possible.

He stressed the need for the business community in the West African states to take the advantage of Nigeria’s economic climate and its proximity to the West African nations to site their factories in the country, adding that Nigeria is the biggest market in the sub-region.

In his welcome address, President of Borderless Alliance, Mr. Ziad Hamoui, said that his organisation was officially launche d in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in May 2012 and has more than 80 members from across the region.

He added that for the success of the conference, his team had prepared sessions that would discuss the latest trends, developments and challenges of trade and transport across West Africa and along the entire supply chains from seaports to destination.

The Borderless Alliance’s President, who informed the participants that he would step down from office having worked for five years, expressed his gratitude to have supervised the great transformation of the organisation from the new concept to the leading institution, saying that it is time to hand over the mantle to the new leadership for fresh ideas that would carry the organisation forward successfully.

Amaechi, who assured the Borderless Alliance of government’s support, insisted that Benin Republic should encourage all member-states, including Nigeria, to invest in her country by ensuring that her tax regime is lower and infrastructure are better than other countries, stressing that Nigeria on its part has put some measures in place to attract investors from other countries within the West African sub-region.

He also hinted that the Federal Government has made frantic efforts to address the issue of ineffective border management by establishing seven National Freight Offices (NFOs) to be located at strategic border-posts.

 

 

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