By Our Reporter
Borderless Alliance has called on West Africa nations to come up with policies that will drive investment in the renewal of the truck fleet plying their highways in a bid to improve trade.
The call was made at a Road Governance Caravan organized by USAID|NIGERIA for Lagos – Kano – Jibiya (LAKAJI) Corridor. Speaking at the caravan in Lagos, a Transport Specialist with Borderless Alliance from Accra; Mr Noel Kosonu noted that most of the trucks on the highways across the sub-region are old and aged after years of productive use in the western world.
Quoting a World Bank report, the specialist claimed that “the average age of truck fleet in West Africa is 35 years old and a high percentage of them are in very bad conditions. This is inimical to the movement of goods and services as well as trade facilitation for the region and its people.”
Mr Kosonu called on leaders across the region to collectively come with and support policies that will enable the private sector invest massively in assembling plants for trucks.
“West African leaders must seek to drive investment in renewing the fleet of trucks in the sub-region because it is imperative to have effect and effective articulated vehicles for trade facilitation just as we strive to remove non-trade barriers and build new roads.”
He further argued on how the high cost of maintaining the trucks also increases the cost of doing business thereby reducing our economic prosperity. “Old trucks are harmful to our economies because they pollute our environment; consume more fuel thus rubbing people of their finances.”
He also enjoined the West Africa nations to comply with the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) decision on axle load enforcement. According to him, West African roads are being negatively affected by the menace of overloading, which hampers effective movement of goods for trade.
The Transport Specialist also suggested the reduction of taxes on brand new trucks as another policy to be used for the fleet renewal.
Non-tariff barriers, inefficient transportation, numerous checkpoints, bribes and delays along the corridors, slow and complex Customs procedures were some of other issues identified as bottlenecks to trade across the sub-region.
Nonetheless, the Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Works in Ogun State Engr. Kayode Ademolake called for the construction of special roads to convey heavy trucks and articulated vehicles along the trade corridors in Nigeria. He gave the remark as the road governance caravan stop-over in Abeokuta. “Construction of such special roads must be developed along the LAKAJI corridor and other major trade corridors in Nigeria to ensure the durability of other roads.”
Borderless Alliance is an initiative of USAID|West Africa Trade Hub that seeks competitive trade in the region, through the removal of barriers to trade and transport, free movement of goods and people through the simplification and harmonization of procedures to drive investment for job creation.