Saraki Warns against Misuse of ECOWAS Free Trade Policy

0
  •  Says trade remains a veritable tool in fighting poverty in the region 

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, wednesday warned on the dangers to misuse the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme by member states, which according to him is capable of killing local industries and thereby negate the integration drive of the region.

Saraki noted that the scheme which is aimed at facilitating trade among member states is susceptible to manipulation by other countries outside the region if members are not vigilant.

The Senate President, who was speaking at the first Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, urged the West African parliamentarians in their deliberations to come up with strategies and legal framework that would block leakages in their intra sub-regional trade engagement.

“Trade remains therefore the surest way to fighting poverty in the region. Having said that, it is important to point out that we must remain vigilant to guarantee that the regional framework for liberal trade engagement is not misused or usurped to the detriment of our internal industrialization and development policy direction,” he said.

“A situation where due to the ECOWAS trade liberalisation Policy, is manipulated by other countries to channel goods into the sub-region in a predatory manner to kill the local industry is not the intendment of the policy.

 “This is today going on in the area of agricultural development and we must resist this and ensure that where there is a leakage in the trade engagement that enable this practice is nipped in the buds,” he added.

Saraki also charged the ECOWAS parliamentarians to device lasting solutions to the issues of insecurity and migration which has continued not only to hamper development in the subregion but has consistently in recent times put the region on a bad light.

He charged them to work in partnership with other countries of the world  particularly Italy and Germany in finding lasting solutions to the migration challenge facing them.

Earlier, the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cause Lo, in appreciating members effort at actualising the dreams of ECOWAS founding fathers, charged them not to relent in there efforts.

He noted that in spite of the harsh economic conditions facing member states, there has been an increasing positive responds in the remittance of the community levy/contributions.