Abuja — The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) has commended the federal government on its Economic Growth Recovery Plan (EGRP) and strides in the improvement of ease of doing business.
Addressing the 12th ECOWAS-Development Partners Annual Coordination Meeting in Abuja yesterday, the President of ECOWAS Commission, Marcel De Souza, said that President Muhammadu Buhari is to be commended exceptionally for his efforts and commitment to ease of doing business in Nigeria.
He said, "As you know Nigeria just came out of recession and President Buhari came up with a plan that will ensure that recession ends fully and the economy prosper which has been successful.
"Nigeria's business ranking recently move from 169 to 149. Nigeria has moved 24 ranks in ease of doing business. So, Buhari is to be commended exceptionally.
"Nigeria is an engine of growth in ECOWAS and has been classified as one of the 10reform economy.
"70 per cent of ECOWAS gross domestic product (GDP) is from Nigeria. So, diligent implementation is a key to achieving the goals that would put back Nigeria economy on a sound footing, which can be achieved through diligent implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan. So, I wish President Buhari good health to achieve his plans. Souza also lamented that the drop of price of raw materials and crude oil has also hampered growth in the region".
The ECOWAS helmsman regretted that money that would have been spent on health and other sector is being spent on combatting insecurity.
He also noted that the ECOWAS Task Force on Free Movement is working tediously to ensure that all impediments hampering free movement such as corrupt practices amongst personnel are halted.
He continued: "The ECOWAS Task Force on Free Movement has a four year mandate and the mandate involves looking at the road and borders and implementation of free movement on roads and borders. They are also looking at challenges hindering implementation of free movement.
"They started their work a year now. They have gone to eight countries so they have seven countries remaining. They look at obstacles hindering free movement, such as corrupt practices on the road and right to residency and establishment and we are doing a very good work to come up with an action plan".
The United Nations resident/humanitarian coordinator and UNDP representative, Mr. Edward Kallon, in his speech, noted that regional economic integration is an important tool the commission can use to ensure ECOWAS strategic participation in the global trading system.
In his opening remark, the Ambassador of European Union (EU), Mr. Ketil Karlsen, averred that EU and ECOWAS are strategic partners and the challenges faced by both of them are common and must be solved together.
"This is why EU, over the recent years, has increased its support to ECOWAS. Through the European Development Fund, the European Union has allocated more than 1 billion Euros for the period 2014 t0n 2020", he noted.