Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, has been urged to encourage local servicing raw materials to reduce cost of production and create more jobs within the region.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Engineer Jonathan Onajobi, who gave the advice while playing host to the business delegation from Republic of Benin put together by the United Nation Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) also advocated the need for the removal of all barriers to free trade within the sub-region, to foster better trade relations.

He said that Ogun State being the Gateway State to West African Region, would play a major role in actualising the 40% trade volume target within the West African sub-region, explaining that the State had earlier envisage such development, hence it had created an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

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Bruno Gnidehove, Leader, Trade Mission Delegation from the UNIDO/Republic of Benin, said the meeting was to improve on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of all ECOWAS members and increase the volume of trade within the economic region, saying the choice of Nigeria as first point of call, was borne out of her economic status as the largest economy in West Africa.

He noted that, the West African comparative advantage lies in extractive industry, with bias on agriculture and solid minerals as huge foreign exchange earners, which could fast-track service of robust economic policies conceived and formulated by ECOWAS.

Gnidehove explained that the establishment of a single currency and 40% inter-state trade volume in West Africa economic bloc would make the region compete with the European Union (EU), in terms of trade, as well as socio-economic growth and development.

On his part, the Vice President, Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Alhaji Wasiu Olaleye, said the ultimate goal of the visit was to impress trade relation between ECOWAS sub-region.

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