By NBF News
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THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been urged to effectively implement its protocol on free movement of goods and people across the region.

The Director-General, Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), John Isemede, made the appeal on Tuesday in Lagos.

Isemede told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the regional economic body needed to be more committed to that objective.

He said that the region's development depended greatly on the regional body's effectiveness in the implementation of its policies.

'Presently, the ECOWAS protocol on free movement of goods and people is being hampered by the activities of the numerous security operatives and checkpoints across our borders. The presence of the overbearing number of security personnel mounting checkpoints at member states' borders is counter-productive to the protocol.

'Those checkpoints do not only negate the protocol, they have also become a source of worry,' he said.

Isemede stressed the need for harmonisation of free movement of goods and people from one member country to another, pointing out that too many border checkpoints were a threat to the realisation of the objectives of ECOWAS.

According to him, those checkpoints have been hindering trading and movement of goods within the region.

'There is currently a high rate of smuggling activities across the borders.'

He urged the governments of West African states to reduce the number of checkpoints at their borders to allow for free movement of goods and people.

'ECOWAS should be alive to its objective and ensure that movement of goods and people are harmonised for the overall development of member countries. It is time that ECOWAS move away from just organising workshops and seminars to full implementation of this protocol,' he said.

Isemede told NAN that NACCIMA was set to assist small scale businesses in the country to increase their production capacities.

'The different capacity development programmes for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) will aim to boost productivity so that Nigeria can become more economically relevant in West Africa. We want to ensure that this country optimally taps into the gains of this protocol,' he added.< Prev          Next >

Author of this article: Editor