Nigeria is showing leadership in ECOWAS trade – Ambassador Hamza Yusuf

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The Acting Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Gambo Yusuf Hamza, has stated that Nigeria has through its actions shown a lot of commitment and leadership in trade across the West African sub-region, which must be emulated by other ECOWAS member-states.

Ambassador Yusuf Hamza, who was responding to a question from the moderator on how his country is leading the way for other ECOWAS states to follow at the National Trade Forum organised by FBNBank-Ghana, stated that: “Nigeria is doing a lot. Nigeria is one of the founders of ECOWAS and is committed to the ECOWAS protocol. Nigeria is certainly playing a leading role in implementation of the ECOWAS protocol.

“First of all, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission Act states that anyone within the sub-region who is going to invest in Nigeria will have a 100 percent liberalisation. That is a 100 percent ownership of his trade or investment in Nigeria. This means the repatriation of profits and repatriation of capital in the event of closing-up or divestment from the investment. Government has already put in place tax exemptions for certain categories of industrial establishments in Nigeria from the West African sub-region, in addition to the general ECOWAS liberalisation treaty.”

According to the Acting High Commissioner: “Nigeria has given nationals of ECOWAS member-states the right to approach the International Court of Arbitration in the event of any conflict that arises between the domestic market and the company”. He added that this is in addition to tax exemption and the fact that nationals of ECOWAS member-states who invest in agriculture will enjoy zero Customs duties on their import of agricultural inputs into Nigeria, and also zero VAT for profit from agriculture. He explained that these are all ways in which Nigeria is showing leadership, and urged governments across the regional bloc to do likewise.

Nigeria has in recent times come under a lot of criticism from sections of the Ghanaian public for undertaking actions which are deemed to undermine trade between ECOWAS states. Of particular mention is the closing of that country’s land borders for a considerable length of time – leading to a complete halt in the transportation of goods to and from Nigeria. In the course of the closure, traders from ECOWAS countries suffered a lot of hardships including loss of goods and capital. Taking advantage of the platform provided by the [email protected] National Trade Forum, the Acting High Commissioner explained the actions of his home government and Nigeria’s commitment to the ECOWAS trade agreement.

The [email protected] National Trade Forum is a thought-leadership platform on trade initiated by FBNBank-Ghana as part of the activities commemorating the bank’s 25th anniversary. The first in the series featured five other panellists including Seth Twum-Akwaboah, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Ghana Industries; Ambassador Diana Acconcia, Head of the European Union delegation to Ghana; Anthony Nyame-Baafi, Technical Advisor, Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industries; Fechin Akoto, Officer-in-Charge, Tariff and Trade, Customs Division, Ghana Revenue Authority; and the host, Victor Yaw Asante, Managing Director, FBNBank Ghana; with George Wiafe of Multimedia Broadcasting as the Moderator.

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