ECOWAS Customs bemoan poor compliance of trade protocols by member countries

Director of ECOWAS Customs, Salifou Tiemtore

The Director of ECOWAS Customs, Salifou Tiemtore, has indicated that the Community is finding it difficult to exercise full authority over the uniform implementation of protocols and policies rolled out in ensuring trade facilitation among member countries.

In a discussion held on the sidelines of the Borderless Alliance 2019 conference in Accra, Mr. Tiemtore mentioned that the challenges regarding enforcement of intra-regional trade policies and protocol is as a result of leaders who are quick to sign on to trade agreements, but subsequently fail to implement them because they do not engage thoroughly with stakeholders prior to the signing of the agreements.

“We are currently negotiating the Free Trade Area agreement, but I can bet you not many people in Ghana here can tell you what it involves, but Ghana and many countries have signed on. Sometimes it doesn’t even mitigate interests of the country as a whole,” he reiterated.

Currently, the regional body does not have a sanctioning mechanism that checks noncompliance of member countries in trade facilitation agreements they have signed unto.

Ziad Hamoui, National President of Borderless Alliance, described the status quo as an issue of political instability, and other security risks as well as inadequate capacity building on the part of Technocrats who are responsible for the various researches into issues for policy formulations.

Dr. Wolfgang Zeller, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh working on African Governance, disclosed that these complexities are common in other sub-regional bodies like the South African Development Corporation (SADC).

He stated that policy integrations between countries are working at the executive level, but attributed these circumstances of failed implementation on the ground to the state of affairs where many Africans survive off corrupt measures especially in the transport sector.