The Acting Director of Trade at the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), Kolawole Sofola, has lauded the Commission for its recent efforts in the adoption of the Supplementary Act on ECOWAS Community Transit and the establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC).
Sofola who represented the Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mrs. Massandje Toure-litse, at a three-day retreat for the ECOWAS Interdepartmental Trade Facilitation Committee (IDTFC) in Lagos, said the RTFC provides advisory recommendations to the ECOWAS Commission regarding the implementation of all instruments associated with the simplification of export, import, and transit inside and outside the region.
The three-day retreat organised by the Directorate of Trade of ECOWAS provided a platform for Directorates and Agencies of the ECOWAS Commission to review guiding documents on regional trade currently in the drafting stage such as the Regional Trade and Transport Facilitation Strategy (RTTFS), a framework for the elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), the Common Trade Policy (CTP), and the Trade and Investment Development Strategy.
Sofola assured members of the IDTFC that their comments and inputs would be incorporated into the draft documents prior to presentation to the Member States for consideration and adoption.
He recalled that the IDTFC was established in 2017 to spearhead a coordinated approach to the implementation of trade facilitation decisions, agreements and programmes carried out by different directorates and agencies of the Commission.
On behalf of GIZ, Kelechi Okoro, Advisor, Trade Facilitation West Africa (TFWA) Programme, underscored the important role of the IDTFC in facilitating trade in the region. He reiterated GIZ’s support for the work of the Committee and his satisfaction with the progress made so far in the development of various policy documents.
He expressed hope that ECOWAS would ensure the effective implementation of the strategies when adopted.
Participants at the retreat include representatives of the Directorates of Trade, Customs Union & Taxation, Transport, Private Sector, Industry, Free Movement of Persons, Research & Statistics, External Relations, Legal Affairs, Communication, and the ECOWAS Gender Development Centre. The German Agency for International Cooperation and Afreximbank.