By Adedayo Akinwale
The federal government has said Nigeria has over 2,400 companies, as well as over 6,900 products under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS).
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Zubairu Dada, disclosed this Thursday while declaring open a Consultative Workshop of ECOWAS Post 2020 Vision and how the new Vision 2050 would reflect the interests of Nigeria.
He equally added that Nigeria alone accounts for 60-70 per cent of products under the scheme.
Dada stated: “Under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), the region has eliminated over 95 per cent of trade barriers along the border of member states.
“Presently, Nigeria has over 2,400 companies, with over 6,900 products under the scheme. Nigeria alone accounts for 60-70 per cent of the products under ETLS.”
The minister stressed that the workshop was aimed at articulating the views of various stakeholders on the impact of ECOWAS Vision 2020, as well as the expectations of the people of Nigeria, with regards to the formulations of the ECOWAS Vision 2050 document.
Dada noted that as the December 2020 deadline of the ECOWAS Vision 2020 approaches and response to the many persistent challenges facing the region become imperative, the ECOWAS has established a roadmap to come up with a post 2020 Vision for the sub region.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Olusola Idowu, said the consultations are to ensure that the post-2020 Vision reflects the needs and aspirations of the citizenry.
Idowu, who was represented by the Director, Macroeconomic Analysis Department of the Ministry of Finance Budget and National Planning, David Adeosun, said the post 2020 vision envisaged more regional integration and development where infrastructure would not be a problem, where trade among member countries would be carried out with much ease, where citizens can move from one country to another and they would feel at home and where poverty would be a thing of the past.
He added: “It will also bring together a Focus Group Discussion (FGDs) forum to gather their views, experience, opinions and share ideas on the three fundamental areas, namely: Achievement of ECOWAS during the implementation of the ECOWAS Vision 2020; New development challenges in the region and the need to be addressed in the post 2020 Vision Blueprint; and Long Term aspirations for the region defining the ‘West Africa we want to see’ in the next 25 years to 50 years.”