29.03.2005 Regional News

Lecturer lauds ECOWAS

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Accra, March 29, GNA - The integration process of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a "saviour" for the Sub-Region but the private sector should be more involved, Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, Dean of Students, University of Ghana, has said in Accra. He called for the active inclusion of the private sector in the integration process since it was in a better position to effectively run some of the intra-community projects, like the marine and airlines of ECOWAS.

Addressing a group of ECOWAS Journalists, who ended a training programme in Accra at the weekend, Dr Antwi-Danso said the private sector, which had now become the engine of growth of developing countries, should be encouraged with tax rebate and other incentives to take over ECOAIR and ECOMARINE established by ECOWAS for better management.

Dr Antwi-Danso said the vibrancy of two private Nigerian airlines, Belview and Chachangni airlines, which were now operating in the Sub-Region in place of the defunct Nigeria Airways and Ghana Airways, were ample evidence of the efficiency of the private sector.

He said in spite of the few disadvantages of integration, like trade diversion, lack of compensatory mechanism and the issue of sovereignty, the advantages far outweighed the former.

"Regional integration could, therefore, be enhanced through enough openness in governance, promotion of intra-community trade and revival of intra-community projects like the cement factory which was once built in Togo to supply cement to other countries in the Sub-Region.

Dr Antwi-Danso expressed optimism in the ultimate attainment of the ECO, the single currency for four countries outside the CFA Zone, under the Monetary Union of ECOWAS, and suggested that its attainment period should be pegged at 2010.

He also advised that any three of the participatory countries that were able to attain the convergence criteria of the union could go ahead to introduce the ECO for the rest to follow later.

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