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Saraki charges against misuse of ECOWAS Free Trade Policy

…Says trade remains a veritable tool in fighting poverty

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Wednesday, warned against the dangers of misuse of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization 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 1st Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja, therefore 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 liberalization Policy, is manipulated by other countries to channel goods into the subregion 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, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cause Lo, in appreciating members effort at actualizing the dreams of ECOWAS founding fathers, charged them not to relent in there efforts.
He noted that inspite of the harsh economic conditions facing member states, there has been an increasing positive responds in the remittance of the community levy/contributions.
Cisse Lo also commended the increase recorded in the area of ratification of various ECOWAS treaties. “Moreover, our efforts to monitor the implementation of our community texts have made it possible to raise the rate of ratification to an acceptable level. We must continue to redouble our efforts to give our institutions the legality they need for their harmonious functioning”, he said.
The parliamentarians through the speaker also seize the opportunity to congratulate the government and people of Nigeria on the recent release of 82 Chibok school girls who had been in Boko Haram captivity since April 2014, adding that in the same spirit and commitment, the government will support succeed in “Restoring freedom to the remaining girls who are still held by Boko Haram so that they can continue their studies for the future of the nation”.