Insecurity: Trade in ECOWAS region drops by 60%

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.

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