The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, over the weekend, said over 57 checkpoints on the Badagry-Seme expressway of the Lagos- Abidjan corridor are frustrating intra-African trade. The executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, however, said that more than 400 trade obstacles have been reported along the trade corridor. Speaking at the sensitisation workshop in collaboration with ECOWAS Commission on awareness creation for professional organisations and stakeholders on elimination of Non-tariff barriers using ECOWAS Trade Obstacle Alert Mechanism (TOAM), organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), over the weekend, the principal trade advisor, ECOWAS Commission, Justin Bayili, said delays occasioned by the checkpoints was militating against trade facilitation.
Bayili stated that there is a need to create good conditions for trade facilitation in the region. “Two months ago, we took a trip from Mile 2 to Badagry and experienced 57 checkpoints, this delayed goods and thus made the goods costly for the business community,” he said. Speaking earlier, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), noted that trade barriers not only disrupt seamless flow of goods but also pose a direct threat to regional integration endeavours. The executive secretary of the council, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, said that various studies conducted along the borders of West African nations, had persistently highlighted the bottlenecks faced by traders, particularly in border crossings and Customs clearance processes. Jime observed that the trade barriers, which were so many, comprised lengthy clearing terms, transit checkpoints with unwarranted delays, harassment, exorbitant illegal fees, and demands for bribes had far-reaching consequences.