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24.02.2006 Business & Finance

ECOWAS Leaders urged to help reduce barriers to trade

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Accra, Feb 24, GNA - Some exhibitors at the ongoing 10th International Trade Fair have called on leaders of the Economic Community of West African States to show their commitment by stepping up efforts to reduce the numerous barriers that inhibit trade among the countries in the West African sub-region.

They should also ensure that their countries take steps to implement the various protocols, especially ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the Free Movement of People and Goods, to which they are signatories. "The barriers are too many and needed to be lowered to encourage businessmen and entrepreneurs to explore markets in neighbouring countries. For now it is difficult," Mr. Muyiwa Oyegbile, Sales and Marketing Manager In-Charge of Exports, Nigeria Distilleries told reporters at the ECOWAS stand.

Mr. Oyegbile, who took delivery of the company's goods for the fair on Friday, three days after the fair had opened and almost a week when the truck carrying the goods set off from Nigeria, said it was sad to see these things happening in the sub-region. "It took the intervention of Nigeria's Ambassadors to Benin and Togo to get the goods across the frontiers for the fair," he told journalists.

According to him it was difficult to understand why countries, after signing the protocols refused to abide by them. He said the only way to boost growth and reduce poverty in the countries in the sub-region was to aggressively promote inter-trade by removing the barriers and encouraging countries to stick to the protocols.

Mr. Oyegbile said Nigeria Distilleries, which produces alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages was participating in the fair because the company's Management wanted to further their plans to expand and explore opportunities in the Ghanaian market. He said the company's decision was informed by the current high economic performance and expansion currently being witnessed in the Ghanaian economy.

"Ghana's economy is big and the country is opening up from day to day and we will want to play our part in that success," he said. Mr. Oyegbile said there were planned meetings with the regulatory bodies such as Ghana Standards Board and the Ministry of Trade and Industry as to how the company could meet the requirements of entry into the Ghanaian market.

Nigeria Distilleries Limited is the biggest distillery in Nigeria and has a market share of 60 per cent. Its top brands include Seaman's Aromatic Schnapps, Regal and Lord's Dry Gin as well as Calypso coconut Liqueur. About 800 exhibitors, made up of 700 local firms and 100 foreign ones, are showcasing their products at the two-week fair on the theme: "Networking to Unlock Ghana's Trade Potentials." FEB. 24 05

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