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Business News Tue, 13 Jan 2004

ECOWAS Leaders urged to remove trade barriers

Aflao, Jan. 13 GNA- Leaders of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) have been urged to remove trade barriers under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to create a congenial environment for investment in the sub-region.
The removal of the barriers, it is hoped would create a huge common ECOWAS market to eliminate the unattractive small market, the individual sub-regional countries hold.
Mr Narayanan Penkaj, the Administrative Controller of the West African Cement Company (WACEM) in Tablegbo in Togo said these when answering questions on what ECOWAS countries should do to attract investment during an interview with journalists on Monday at Aflao.
Mr Penkaj who attended the launch of a new cement grade 42.5 Newton (N) by the Diamond Cement Ghana Limited (DCGL), a sister company at Aflao said the inability of ECOWAS countries to adhere to the ETLS policy is not healthy for investment attraction.
He said there is a competition in the investment market and any country or region which failed to seek investment prudently, shall not have it. Mr Penkaj said their company's limestone quarry in Tablegbo produces 1.2 million tons of clinker per year of which Togo could consume only 300,000 tons.
He said they entered the ECOWAS market and established four cement production companies in Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso because they felt the ETLS scheme will enable them to move the raw materials and cement products but wondered why the ECOWAS countries decided to re-introduce export duties on companies producing in the sub-region.
Mr Penkaj said the presence of other groupings within the ECOWAS particularly the francophone zone was responsible for the difficulty in the implementation of the ECOWAS protocols and called for a common monitoring system . He warned that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would remain a mirage and utopian unless the impediments to trade and investments were removed.
Mr Penkaj described the AGOA concept as lucrative and attractive but said ECOWAS has the right investment and environment for companies to effectively operate successfully.
"There is no way they can compete with companies in the advanced countries in the AGOA market," he said.
Mr Penkaj said the company would remain in the cement industry as long there are building and construction going on and would therefore, inject extra capital into the sub-region when necessary.

Aflao, Jan. 13 GNA- Leaders of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) have been urged to remove trade barriers under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to create a congenial environment for investment in the sub-region.
The removal of the barriers, it is hoped would create a huge common ECOWAS market to eliminate the unattractive small market, the individual sub-regional countries hold.
Mr Narayanan Penkaj, the Administrative Controller of the West African Cement Company (WACEM) in Tablegbo in Togo said these when answering questions on what ECOWAS countries should do to attract investment during an interview with journalists on Monday at Aflao.
Mr Penkaj who attended the launch of a new cement grade 42.5 Newton (N) by the Diamond Cement Ghana Limited (DCGL), a sister company at Aflao said the inability of ECOWAS countries to adhere to the ETLS policy is not healthy for investment attraction.
He said there is a competition in the investment market and any country or region which failed to seek investment prudently, shall not have it. Mr Penkaj said their company's limestone quarry in Tablegbo produces 1.2 million tons of clinker per year of which Togo could consume only 300,000 tons.
He said they entered the ECOWAS market and established four cement production companies in Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso because they felt the ETLS scheme will enable them to move the raw materials and cement products but wondered why the ECOWAS countries decided to re-introduce export duties on companies producing in the sub-region.
Mr Penkaj said the presence of other groupings within the ECOWAS particularly the francophone zone was responsible for the difficulty in the implementation of the ECOWAS protocols and called for a common monitoring system . He warned that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would remain a mirage and utopian unless the impediments to trade and investments were removed.
Mr Penkaj described the AGOA concept as lucrative and attractive but said ECOWAS has the right investment and environment for companies to effectively operate successfully.
"There is no way they can compete with companies in the advanced countries in the AGOA market," he said.
Mr Penkaj said the company would remain in the cement industry as long there are building and construction going on and would therefore, inject extra capital into the sub-region when necessary.

Source: GNA