Shippers’ Council seeks ECOWAS’ support in trade facilitation

Hassan Bello
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bell.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has called for the support of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in trade facilitation both within the country and within the region.

Executive secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello, made the call when the team of the monitoring mission of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) task force to Nigeria visited him at the office in Abuja.

Speaking further, the Shippers’ council boss noted that one of the challenges of trade in Nigeria was the inconsistent tariff structure which was always higher for ships coming to Nigeria.

According to him, “Tariff on ships coming to Nigeria is higher when compared to other ports and this is a need for established tariff regime. We are also looking at exceptional charges on ships coming into Nigeria like congestion charges, which in some cases may not apply.

“All these need to be addressed. We are negotiating a comprehensive review of charges for cargos. We must also look at the ease of doing business and also the cost of doing business. All these will help in trade facilitation within the region.”

The ETLS was set up by the head of states of member nation to tackle the integration of the economic activities within the region as envisaged by the founding members of ECOWAS.

While speaking on behalf of the ETLS, Ken Ukaoha, explained that they were in Shippers council to see how far the Council has gone in implementing the agreement signed between it and Nigeria in 2017.

He also explained that in the course of the meeting, the ETLS would discover if there were areas where they could come in to assist and ensure the progress of trade facilitation with the private sector.