Free Movement of Goods and Trade Liberalization in the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas): A Critical Evaluation
This article examines the aims and objectives of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the realization of free movement of goods and capital between states. Actually freedom of movement of goods and capital is still a myth and not a reality by ECOWAS member states and many of the indicia for actualizing the objectives have not been put in place. The idea of trade liberalization scheme was mooted in the first place to facilitate the dream of the community for free movement of goods across the borders. Thus regional integration was expected to lead to expansion of markets and the removal of trade barriers amongst member states as required by the Trade Liberation Scheme (TLS) with the sole aim of coordinating industrial planning for the purpose of enhancing the process of regional economic growth and development. Thus, this paper explores the fact that economic integration is a necessity amongst member states if the region is to achieve any meaningful sustainable economic growth. This paper further identifies the problems of implementation of the Trade Liberalization Scheme (TLS) and pointed out efforts made by the Authority of Heads of State and Government by ameliorating those teething problems. The paper examines the fact that capital is the vehicle that moves goods and goods are usually paid for in the local currency which is dogged by the problem of exchange rates and local financial regulations. The paper also attempted proffering solutions on how to surmount the bottlenecks associated with exchange rates by suggesting the use of local currencies by community citizens for payment of services rendered in connection with travel within the region. And finally, recommendations for more effective approach towards the realization of economic currency by members of ECOWAS states is strongly being advocated for and the need for Nigeria as the giant of Africa to occupy the vacant positions of an acclaimed integration leader in the region are issues strongly canvassed as palliative measures which if put in place will go a long way to achieve self-sufficiency for the member states especially by creating a single large trading area.
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