The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) yesterday bemoaned the high cost of transporting goods among African countries.
Speaking at a one-day workshop for the dissemination and launch of ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS) handbook organised by Shippers Council in collaboration with Borderless Alliance, the executive secretary of the council, Barr. Hassan Bello said Africa has the highest cost of transporting goods between origin and destination across all modes of transportation.
Bello who was represented at the event by the director of Consumers’ Affair of the council, Cajethan Agu further disclosed that barriers to trades was responsible for the high cost of moving goods in Africa and they must be tackled.
He said, “Africa has the biggest 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 international markets.”
Bello further stated that if relevant stakeholders and authorities comply with approved standards and rules, barriers to trade would automatically ease off and pave way for seamless operation at borders.
His words, “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, increased tax revenues for authorities and long term development outcomes.
The public and private sectors should therefore synergize to achieve the necessary cost effectiveness in going business in the sub-region.”
However, Bello further assured Nigerians that the actualization of the ETLS will not lead to dumping of goods in Nigeria.
He charged Nigerian importers to be ready to compete favourably and stop the idea of thinking the country will turn to a dumping ground.
“We should try to remove the story on the connotation that when you liberalize trade it will lead to dumping of goods in Nigeria. You see in WTO standard the idea is either you compete to survive or you perish. We are in a globalized world so you need to be ready to compete as a country”
The ES reiterated that there are some mechanisms in place to ensure that goods on transit are not dumped here in the country.
“There are some mechanisms put in place to address the issue of dumping of goods in Nigeria. If those mechanisms are put in place those who are involved in dumping of goods will be apprehended and the appropriate penalty melted on them”
Speaking further on the handbook, he maintained that the essence of the ETLS is to ensure free movement of goods and services across ECOWAS subregion.
“The handbook as we rightly said is being launched by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) in collaboration with the Borderless Alliance. You are aware that ECOWAS has signed a protocol agreement on trade, that is ECOWAS Trade Liberization Scheme (ETLS) and the essence of that agreement is for trade facilitation in the ECOWAS subregion.”