The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) have raised the alarm that the current state of insecurity at the border post has led to a 60 percent drop in trade among ECOWAS member states.
Indeed, the chamber said the development is creating a lot of disorderliness at the border posts, thus leading to huge loss of revenue.
Director General of NACCIMA, Mr. John Isemede, noted that if the trend is allowed to continue , there is every tendency for the region’s economy to collapse resulting in serious unemployment.
“Already the region is facing employment crisis which if not checked it may lead to serious problems. There is the need for the governments of the region to tackle these challenges,” he said.
Commenting on a common currency for the region, the NACCIMA DG pointed out that the much talked about economic integration has been elusive for years because the requirements for the convergence can’t be met by the participating countries.
He argued that the region import cultures have not allowed economic integration to thrive.
“We are talking of the Common External tariff which will take off next year. We are a sub region and not a Customs union. For us to be a Customs union, incentives, VAT, import duties, tariff must be the same thing,” he said.
He said VAT in Nigeria is 5 percent, Benin Republic 20 percent, Ghana 17 percent and “if we now have all these, why will the borders not be porous and smuggling through because there will a big advantage of routing goods through Nigeria at 5 percent. How can we achieve free movement of goods with the differences in VAT?”
“So all we have to do is to work on our own naira because in the past, people were travelling with the naira abroad because the naira was more or less the single currency in West Africa. If the value of the naira today is N50 to the US$, a lot of experts in America would come back to Nigeria because of the value of the currency,” he stated.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.