The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello has said that barriers to trade increase the cost of trade.
Bello who made this observation in his opening remarks at the Borderless Alliance Workshop on Dissemination and Launch of ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) Handbook held in Lagos yesterday said that according to UNCTAD report, Africa has the highest cost of transporting goods between origin and destination.
Represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs, NSC, Chief Cajethan Agu, he observed that Africa must work assiduously to reduce these unnecessary costs by eliminating all the trade barriers and make her products more competitive in international market.
According to him, “Removing obstacles to intra-regional integration in the ECOWAS sub-region would be particularly beneficial to the small scale traders that conduct cross border commerce within the sub-region. The potential benefits include food security, job creation, poverty reduction and increased tax revenues for authorities and long term development outcomes.
“It is our belief that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules, barriers to trade would be automatically eased off and pave way for seamless operations at our borders. The public and private sectors should therefore synergize to achieve the necessary cost effectiveness in doing business in the sub-region.
On the essence of the workshop, the Shippers’ Council boss opined that it was designed to acquaint participants with ETLS protocols and procedures and how it could be effectively utilized to enhance cross border trade in the West African sub-region.
He believed that the knowledge garnered at the workshop would enable parties involved in trade and transport to facilitate cross border trade and invariably increase the capacity for commerce and reduce cost of trading especially for small scale traders in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“The ETLS Handbook has a compilation of the main ETLS documentation requirements needed to transact cross border trade. The Handbook further identifies common barriers facing cross border trade stakeholders for specified products. The information would guide us in taking informed decisions that would enhance import/export trade”, he added.
He however, commended the Borderless Alliance and UKAID for developing the document while appreciating their efforts and collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and other Shippers’ Council in the sub-region in removing barriers to cross border trade and providing trade information for the trading community.
“We shall continue with Borderless Alliance and relevant development partners to provide conducive environment for business to thrive in the sub-region”, he said.
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