New Telegraph

ETLS: FG, LCCI sensitise OPS on boosting intra-regional trade

The Federal Government, in conjunction with the Lagos Chamber of Com- merce and Industry (LCCI) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has ad- vised industry stakeholders on the administration, benefits, and ways to navigate the challenges of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) in ECOWAS region. Speaking at the Export Group of the LCCI’s Conference with the theme: “Sensitisation Engagement on Unhindered Market Access the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) Offers,” in Lagos recently, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency, Hajiya Zubairu Dada; the LCCI President, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole; Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, Amb. Musa Sani Nuhu; Head, ECOWAS National Unit-Nigeria – (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Amb. Yakubu A. Dadu, explained that the workshop was an avenue to create awareness for the ETLS, to ensure that Nigerian companies fully maximised the opportunities of the scheme in the overall interest of its economic growth and development on the one hand and the deepening of ECOWAS sub-regional integration on the other hand. The Minister, who was represented at the event by Amb. Ngozi Ukaeje, Director African Multilateral Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the work- shop aimed to highlight the benefits of the ETLS as a tool to access new markets and generate foreign exchange (FX) for manufacturers. She added that it would also emphasise how the ETLS platform could be leveraged by Nigerian industrialists to export and market their products to other West African countries without payment of duties, whilst encouraging intra- regional trade. Similarly, the LCCI president averred that the global economy was declining sharply due to high inflation, trade limitation due to border closure, monetary tightening, and ambiguities from the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, as well as the persisting COVID-19.

He added that the economies of member-countries were not exempted from these shocks, with the ag- ricultural sector slowly becoming immune to global distortions, while manufacturing and services sector are being severely impacted by the twin effects of global inflationary pressure and exchange rate shock. Olawale-Cole said: “According to World Development Indicators (WDI) as obtained from UNCTAD, the GDP of the ECOWAS rose to $765.58 billion from $735.71 billion, a growth of about 4.93 per cent in 2021. This indicates an improve- ment over negative of 0.31 per cent in the preceding year. “The GDP per-capita in 2021 was $1,237.59, in- dicating an increase of 3.06 per cent from $1,200.83 in 2020, which affirms the post Covid-19 recovery path of ECOWAS with negative growth of 4.23 per cent between 2019-2020 pe- riods. “In the past decade, the average GDP per-capita income of ECOWAS was $1,185.68 or $3.25 (marginally above the $2.15 poverty line) per person per day, which represent a 1.5 per cent 10-year average growth over the period.”

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