The Federal Government on Wednesday said intensive smuggling was a major drawback on the smooth implementation of liberal trade among ECOWAS states.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Bulus Lolo, said this at the opening of a one-day sensitisation workshop on ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme held in Yola.
Lolo said the challenges facing the scheme were obstacles to the development of the sub-region.
“Nigeria’s priority in the scheme is to secure greater regional market access and promote industrialisation through export led growth.
“But the worst challenges facing the trade liberation is the negative consequences associated with smuggling of goods made within the West African sub-region,’’ Lolo said.
Lolo, who was represented by Amb. Saleh Pisagi, said the ministry had embarked on a sensitisation programme campaigns nationwide in order to liberate the trade scheme.
“It still remains obvious that the Nigerian Business and Investment Community require regular awareness campaign,’’ Lolo said.
He said the workshop was designed in a way that stakeholders should be able to provide necessary inputs that would assist participants to fully maximise the opportunities in the sub region.
The workshop was organised in collaboration with the ECOWAS, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry (BOI).