Home Maritime Shippers’ Council Promotes Cross-border Trade

Shippers’ Council Promotes Cross-border Trade

Pius Akutah, executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC), presenting a plaque to Richard Eke-Metoho, associate program officer at the International Trade Center (ITC) while Timothy Bruneteru, trade facilitation adviser at ITC looks on, when ITC delegates paid a courtesy visit to the NSC headquarters on Friday.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has partnered strategically with the International Trade Center (ITC) to curb the factors impeding cross-border trade between Nigeria and other West African countries.

One such factor is multiple checkpoints as it was identified that between Mile 2 and Seme border, about 53 checkpoints mounted by security operatives and touts to extort businesses, abound.

NSC and ITC committed to promoting cross-border trade when a delegation from the ITC led by Richard Eke-Metoho, associate program officer, paid a courtesy visit to the NSC headquarters.

Eke-Metoho said the visit was part of the team’s ongoing study to identify areas for improvement in trade facilitation, particularly at border crossing points.

He said that female traders are fast becoming subject to sexual harassment along the Seme-Krake trade route.

“We have had instances where women moving goods along the Seme-Krake trade route have been sexually harassed by security officials stationed at different checkpoints. Officials of government agencies stationed at these routes in the border area sometimes ask for sex in exchange for allowing goods to pass,” he said.

Okafor Stephen, general manager of Operations at the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said about 53 checkpoints exist between Mile 2 and Seme border.

He said the numerous checkpoints along the Mile 2/Seme border allow state and non-state actors to extort truckers carrying goods along the route.

According to him, the issue of extortion is on the rise every day and it seems nothing is being done to stem the menace.

Pius Akutah, executive secretary of NSC, said that trade facilitation is a major initiative of the Council and pledged to provide the necessary support to ensure the success of the study.

He said that the study will strengthen the Council’s ability to formalise informal trade at border areas, gather statistics, and plan for trade volumes.

“Trade facilitation is one of the major aspects of what we do. The study will help us to plan and develop more skills in terms of what we do at the Border Information Centre. Shippers Council is a partner and I want us to take our partnership to the next level that will focus on engagement with our stakeholders,” he said.

International Trade Center is a co-implementer under the ECOWAS Agricultural Trade Programme, which aims to improve intra-regional agricultural trade at border crossing points.

It is carrying out a study on agricultural products, a significant area of potential for Nigeria, not only in the African region but also globally.

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