MAN supports government’s move to review ECOWAS treaty
Considering growing abuse of trade rules, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) are now rallying support for government’s call to review the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Treaty.
Before now, Senate Committee chairman on International Trade, Senator Hope Uzodinma had called for total pullout of Nigeria from the treaty based on observed loses Nigerian businesses had recorded in recent times from neigbhouring countries.
Operators say such abuse has led to loss of revenue and subsequent drop in capacity of many manufacturing plants in the country.
According to the Chairman, Gas Users Group of MAN, Dr. Michael Adebayo the abuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) by member states, has caused serious loss of revenue and decline in manufacturing activities in Nigeria.
Also, the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA) equally affirmed the position stating that many fabrics were being imported into the country through neighbouring countries under the guise of the ETLS.
But to address the challenges, the Senate, had urged the Federal Government to suspend forthwith the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade liberalisation scheme and Common External Tariffs (CET).
Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Hope Uzodinma, titled: “The Abuse of Customs Tariff and Indiscriminate Issuance of Fiscal Policies and the negative impact on the national economy,” the upper chamber urged government to review the process of enacting the tariff to identify all abuses and revenue leakages.
The lawmaker representing Orlu Senatorial Zone of Imo State noted that the fall out of the formation of ECOWAS was the ratification of CET and ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) in year 2000.
He said ECOWAS integration package in the place should not have been signed, as “Nigeria was not and is still not in the same economic level with other West African countries.”
The matter was further reechoed by President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech at the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, saying “We need to make conscious efforts to improve on Governance and accountability at all levels. This calls for the speedy conclusion of the reforms of all ECOWAS institutions to put ECOWAS on a much stronger footing and prepare us for the challenges of such Institutional reforms. To this end, we should ensure that priority is given to the implementation of development programmes, while the ECOWAS Parliament should be entrusted with more functions.
“In addition, the cost of governance must be reduced across all ECOWAS Institutions while resources should be devoted to programmes and projects that will have direct bearing on the lives of ordinary citizenry and create jobs fast enough to absorb our teeming youth population. In this regard, it is necessary that measures be taken to review the ECOWAS Treaty in order to make ECOWAS responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.