Anna Okon

Borderless Alliance has called on West African nations to come up with policies that will drive investment in the renewal of the trucks plying their highways in a bid to improve trade.

A statement obtained through email quoted a transport specialist with Borderless Alliance from Accra; Mr. Noel Kosonu, as urging leaders across the region to collectively come up with policies that would enable the private sector to invest massively in assembling plants for trucks.

He lamented that most of the trucks on the highways across the sub-region were old and obsolete after years of productive use in the western world.

Citing a World Bank report, Kosonu said, “The average age of truck fleet in West Africa is 35 years and a high percentage of them are in very bad condition. This is inimical to the movement of goods and services as well as trade facilitation for the region and its people.”

According to him, the high cost of maintaining the trucks also increased the cost of doing business, thereby reducing the region’s economic prosperity.

“Old trucks are harmful to our economies because they pollute our environment and consume more fuel,” he said.

He enjoined West African nations to comply with the Economic Community of West African States’ decision on axle load enforcement, adding that West African roads were negatively affected by the menace of overloading, which hampered effective movement of goods.

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 transport, numerous checkpoints, bribes and delays along the corridors, slow and complex customs procedures were other issues Kosonu identified as bottlenecks to trade across the sub-region.

 The Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Works, Mr. Kayode Ademolake, called for the construction of special roads for heavy trucks and articulated vehicles along the trade corridors in Nigeria.

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