FG Urges South-east Businesses To Embrace ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme

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The federal government has called on business concerns in the South East region to take advantage of opportunities offered by the ECOWAS Free Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) to boost their businesses.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, made the call on Friday during a workshop on ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

The workshop, with the theme “Exploring the Benefits of ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme in the Region,” was organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for manufacturers, importers, exporters, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the five states of the South East region.

The minister, who was represented by the Director of the Department of International Organization in the ministry, Ambassador Obinna Onowu, enumerated some of the benefits and opportunities offered by ETLS.

He said, “The primary goal is to establish a customs union among all member states (ECOWAS) with the ultimate objective of completely eliminating customs duties and implementing a unified customs policy.

“The ETLS represents an ideal opportunity to foster greater economic integration and unlock the immense potential of intra-regional trade.”

He stated that the ministry had already organized similar sensitization workshops in Kano in 2020 and in Lagos in 2023 for manufacturers, importers, and exporters in the Northwest and Southwest zones, respectively, but emphasized that the ministry viewed holding the program in the Southeast as very critical due to the huge number of stakeholders in the region.

Another official of the ministry, Mr. Yohanna Zacks, Head of the ECOWAS Unit on Trade, stated that ETLS synergizes with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and that the relationship creates a seamless gateway for free customs duties trade for bona fide manufacturers and traders under ETLS.

Earlier, Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the sensitization workshop.

He stated that the awareness being created among manufacturers and traders would help them improve their income and contribute to boosting the economy of the region.

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