By Godwin Oritse
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, has called for the removal of obstacles to intra-regional integration in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region saying that it “will be beneficial to the small scale traders that conduct cross-border commerce within the region.”
Executive Secretary of the NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello, stated this in Lagos, last week, during a one-day workshop organized by the NSC in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance on dissemination and launch of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) Handbook.
Bello who was represented by Chief Cajetan Agu, NSC’s Director, Consumer Affairs, commended the Borderless Alliance and UKaid for developing the document, while appreciating the efforts and collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other shippers’ councils in the sub-region in removing barriers to cross-border trade, and providing trade information for the trading community.
He stated: “We shall continue to collaborate with Borderless Alliance and relevant development partners to provide a conducive environment for businesses to thrive in the sub-region.
“Barriers to trade increase the cost of trade. According to the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, Africa has the highest cost of transporting goods between origin and destination across all modes of transportation.
“We must work assiduously to reduce these unnecessary costs by eliminating all the barriers to trade and make our products more competitive in the international market,” Bello disclosed.
“It is our belief that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules, barriers to trade would automatically ease off and pave way for seamless operations at our borders.
“He implored the public and private sector operatives to synergize to achieve the necessary cost-effectiveness in doing business in the sub-region.”