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LCCI reveals how Ministry of Foreign Affairs is frustrating exports to W’Africa

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At a time the Organised Private Sector (OPS) is speaking from both sides of their mouth on whether the federal government can sign the AfCTFA or not, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Babatunde Ruwase has revealed how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is killing manufacturers efforts in exporting to West African nations.

His revelation stemmed from the observation that “Nigerian exporters attempting to take advantage of the Economic Community of West African States Trade Liberalisation Scheme and export to West African countries are finding it difficult doing so because of problems they encounter while trying to obtain documentation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

Business Hilights recalls that ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West African region as a free trade area. This is one of the objectives of the community, which is the establishment of a common market through the liberalisation of trade by the abolition among member states of Customs duties on imports and exports.

But checks as disclosed by LCCI have shown that the same government that tends to be promoting exports is suppressing it via bureaucracies in documentation.

LCCI boss averred that the ongoing Ease of Doing Business reform of the federal government is yet to be adopted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Speaking weekend in Lagos, Ruwase, expressed concerns about the hitches being faced by Nigerian exporters trying to trade under the scheme, saying time to remove the management of ETLS from the ministry is now.

According to him, “In the past, Nigeria used to have Ministry of Integration and Economic Cooperation which had the responsibility of facilitating trade with other African countries but this ministry has fused into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.

“The administration of the ETLS be moved from Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and specifically under the Nigerian investment Promotion Commission.

“This will improve the administration of the ETLS and serve exporters better,” Ruwase averred.

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