The Commissioner for Infrastructure of ECOWAS, Pathe Gueye, has urged member countries to hasten the implementation of agreed protocols of the Joint Border Post (JBP) project.
That, he explained, was the only way to reap the benefits for the socio-economic development of the sub-region.
Mr Gueye said this at the fourth Steering Committee and the 10th European Development Fund, (EDF) meeting in Accra last Friday.
The meeting, at the instance of ECOWAS, was to brainstorm on the challenges of the first phase of the JBP programme towards the implementation of the second phase.
The €41 million project forms part of the ECOWAS Road Transport and Transit facilitation strategy aimed at reducing trade and logistics costs, increase revenue collection and intraregional trade through the free movement of people and goods among member states.
It also sought to improve cross border cooperation through security and information sharing, reduce corruption and social vices such as promiscuity and alcoholism experienced by truck operators and freight forwarders due to delays at the ports.
But out of the seven border posts that were expected to be constructed along the corridor only three, the Noepe-Akanu between Ghana and Togo, the Seme-Krake, between Benin and Nigeria, and the Mallamville-JBP, between Benin and Niger have been completed.
This, the commissioner stated would defeat the purpose of the project and charged member states to speed up work for the smooth take-off of the second phase.
Mr.Gueye charged leaders of the member countries to adopt measures to reduce the cost of power .post harvest losses. Improve access to finance, harmonize trade activities and constantly improve the road network in order not to erode the gains made.
He tasked ECOWAS and the West African Economic Monitoring Union (UEMOA), to agree on integrated priority programmers to build synergy on the disbursement of funds and also have an action plan to fulfill the set targets.
The Commissioner of Regional Planning and Transport, Dr Paul Koffi Koffi, charged the committee to adopt measures that would create sustainable `jobs for the youth as well as improve the performance of small and medium enterprises.
He lamented the little at tension paid to agro-industry in the sub-region as a result of the disjointed value chain sector and urged ECOWAS and UEMOA to take advantage of the sessions and provide the sub-region with workable solutions.
He commended the EU for the support given to member countries over the years and called for renewed commitment to increase funds for more development projects.