By Godwin Oritse
THE National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has attributed the inactivity in the transport industry to the failure of the rail system, and called for an audit of the service sector in Nigeria.
In a statement, the President of NANTS Mr Ken Ukaoha said Nigeria control about 70% of the transport market in the entire West African Sub-Region, adding that the rail transport system should be liberalized.
He stated that stakeholders in transport sector have expressed concern over the low level of regulation particularly in the maritime sector where there is no economic regulator.
â€œStakeholders are not happy with the level of regulation especially in the maritime sector where there is no economic regulator, resulting in high clearing cost and total control of market by the foreignersâ€. Ukaoha stated.
Besides, NANTS also convened a stakeholders meeting recently in Abuja where a number of decisions were taken to push the both the liberalization and regulation of the transport sector.
At the meeting titled â€œAdvancing services sector development and reforms in Nigeriaâ€ held in Abuja recently,Â it was also suggested that a road map be develop to guide the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) .
It would be recalled that before the Abuja, there had been a meeting of the same interest in Accra Ghana where a note of warning was sounded to stakeholders to identify the sectors and modes of supply that are of interest of the region.
Part of the statement reads â€œSequel to the Accra meeting, the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) with support from International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty (ILEAP) in Abuja, convened stakeholdersâ€™ meeting to consider Nigeria-Uruguay commitments on service against the backdrop of possible services commitments in the Context of the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
â€œThe meeting also sought to identify potential sectors for liberalization and strategies for liberalizing such sectors in accordance with national economic development interest.
â€œECOWAS and EU have agreed in principle to resume the negotiations of the services sector of the EPA by 2010.
â€œIn order to facilitate early preparations on the subject matter, NANTS and ILEAP are again collaborating in convening a follow up to a three day national stakeholders workshop to deeply x-ray Nigerianâ€™s strategic interest on trade in services with a view to identifying a preliminary subset of strategic export and import sectors for further analysisâ€.
The meeting, according to the Ukaoha is also expected to examine the World Trade Organization for service negotiations vis-a-vis negotiation in Economic Partnership Agreement with a very to assisting Nigeria develop a development-Friday strategy for services liberalization.