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Sep 30, 2011

Vice President calls for the Implementation of Customs Union

Vice President John Dramani Mahama has called for the implementation of a Customs union which has been on the drawing board of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for years now.   

He said the implementation, will facilitate the movement of goods and people within the sub-region, as well as paving way for subsequent implementation of other agreements such as Free Trade Zone, Economic Partnership Agreements and regional energy strategy.   

 Veep made this known at the Nigeria’s 51st Independence Anniversary Lecture on the theme: “The Leadership Role of Nigeria and Ghana in the Sub-Regional Integration of ECOWAS.” 

 He added that the Customs Union, which involves trading goods between countries without any customs restrictions among member states, can spur the private sector to invigorate their businesses and reduce overdependence on imports from the Western countries. 

 He observed that its implementation has over the years been lauded by member countries; Ghana and Nigeria have respected democracies and can therefore blaze the trail in that respect for other countries to emulate. 

 He added that there is the need for countries with the political will to start the ECOWAS Customs Union to encourage other member countries to join in the implementation for the benefit of all.” 

  Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor the former President of Ghana called on African countries to encourage massive agricultural activities that will make them self-reliant and net exporters of food to other continents in the coming years. 

 Mr. Kufuor called for the reinvigoration of democratic institutions across the continent as a way of discouraging political conflicts and election malpractices to pave the way for a smooth democratic dispensation. 

 Mr Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament said the only way ECOWAS member-counties can achieve their integration programme is through the reinforcement of existing partnerships, dismantling artificial barriers and the implementation of zero tolerance for conflicts and corruption. 

 He called on member countries to make ample use of the expertise and technical know-how of the advanced African countries to develop the less privileged states in the sub-region, as an encouragement for them to strive for higher development programmes. 

  Nana Prah Agyensam, Paramount chief of Owirenkyi in the Central Region, who chaired the programme, congratulated all Nigerians on the 51st Independence Anniversary and appealed to them to use the occasion as an opportunity to do some stock-taking to improve on their own lot and that of their neighbours.

 The lecture was organised by the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana under the auspices of Musiliu M.O Obanikoro, Nigerian High Commissioner and attended by government functionaries, Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament and Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Nana Akuffo-Addo, Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party for the 2012
elections, Members of the Diplomatic corps and students from other African countries. 

Source: ISD