MPs Across ECOWAS Member-States Mull Practicable Legislation To Promote Agro Export, Trade and Regional Economic Development - DG NILDS.

  • Friday March 23, 2018 13:26 PM
  • NILS Press Corps
The Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, Prof. Ladi Hamalai, MFR has urged Members of Parliament from the 15 member ECOWAS States to pass practicable legislation that would enhance intra and inter trade capacity at both intra-regional and global levels, promote Agro export and enhance regional economic growth.
After a 2-Day Dialogue Session of Parliamentarians and other policy actors within the sub-region in Accra, Ghana, the DG said that the “an overview of trade figures and dynamics in the ECOWAS region confirms that ECOWAS exports show little product diversity, with heavy reliance on extractive products and a few agricultural commodities.”

Giving a statistically laden background of the lopsided pattern of ECOWAS exports over the years, the DG urged national Parliaments across ECOWAS countries to take legislative actions that would improve investment in Agriculture, boost production and enhance intra-regional trade.

She acknowledged the concerns of participants on the need for member-states to leverage their individual comparative advantage and work towards policies and legislation among the West African regional body that would promote economic development and strengthen regional integration.

The 2-Day Dialogue Session on Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Value Chain for increased agricultural production and export stimulation witnessed robust discussions from the 68 critical stakeholders across ECOWAS Member-states who converged on Accra Ghana.

Meanwhile, the DG NILDS has also charged the Francophone speaking member parliaments to leverage the opportunity provided by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies’ Post Graduate programmes, so that Franco-phone counterparts in the parliaments can benefit from NILDS-University of Benin Master’s Degree programmes in Legislative Drafting, Parliamentary Administration and Legislative Studies, among other programmes. The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies has been in affiliation with the University of Benin since 2014.

The Dialogue session, organized by NILDS, under the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies Capacity Building Project, NILDS-CAP 2 is coming against the background of how most regional governments insensitivity to agriculture has continued to impede development, thereby creating problems such as food insecurity, trade imbalance, poverty, unemployment, insecurity and stagnant productivity in West Africa.

It would be recalled that in order to boost intra-ECOWAS trade, the leadership of ECOWAS has implemented a number of measures geared towards economic growth and development of the regional community. One of such schemes is the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), which is the ECOWAS version of a Free Trade Area among the ECOWAS Member States.

As was expected, Parliamentarians took full advantage of this dialogue session to improve their capacities in matters of sub-regional trade agreements and other binding trade commitments such as the Common External Tariff (CET) and the EU-West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and familiarize themselves with key issues in the scheme.

The Session on Intra-ECOWAS Trade and Value Chain for Agricultural Exports, which is organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, (NILDS) National Assembly, under the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) funded capacity building project, NILDS Cap 2, opened up discussions that have enhanced the knowledge of

Parliamentarians in the sub-region to legislate and monitor the implementation of these policies as well as re-inforce regional integration of ECOWAS as ECOWAS of peoples across the Anglophone, Lusophone and Francophone countries.

The session which was declared open by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, Rt. Hon. Alban S. K Bagbin had in attendance 68 participants, including Nigerian Federal Legislators, Cabinet Ministers and others, drawn from Member Committees in charge of Trade and Agriculture, ECOWAS Parliament, counterpart Committees of National Parliaments of ECOWAS, African Development Bank (AfDB), ECOWAS Commission, European Union, Officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the Agricultural and Trade Sectors in ECOWAS Member States, FAO Regional Office for Africa, Techno serve Regional Office for West Africa, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Ghana, CSOs and NGOs as well as other stakeholders in the agricultural sector.