ECOWAS grants Rlg Gambia ETLS approval

Mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices manufactured by Rlg Gambia have been given the approval to join the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) by the regional economic grouping.

With the approval, the company can export freely within the ECOWAS region.

The approval follows a request by the company to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration & Employment of the Gambia who in turn applied to ECOWAS for the granting of the request after a vigorous assessment.

A communication signed by the ECOWAS Commissioner Of Trade, Customs and Free Movement, Ahmed Hamid dated June 1, 2015 and addressed to the Gambian Trade Minister said the approvals were done “based on the criteria of the wholly produced, change of tariff headings and value added as stipulated in Regulation C.Reg.3/4/02 of 23 April, 2003 establishing the procedures for the approval of originating products to benefit from the ETLS”.

Rlg Gambia is a subsidiary of the Rlg Communications Group and has a two-line state-of-the art device production plant capable of producing 500 phones a day and 200 laptops on daily basis as well as after sales and repair facilities.

The company also runs training in ICT for young people in the Gambia partnered by the government.

The company has been operating in the Gambia since 2011 and the ETLS approval is expected to strengthen its hands to increase production and ensure penetration into the ECOWAS market.

ETLS is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a Free Trade Area. This lies in tandem with the one of the objectives of the community which is the establishment of a common market through “the liberalization of trade by the abolition, among Member States, of customs duties levied on imports and exports, and the abolition among Member States, of non-tariff barriers.”

ECOWAS needs the free trade area for a number of reasons including the encouraging of entrepreneurial development in the region, increasing intra-regional trade and boosting economic activity and increasing West African competitiveness on the global market as well as increasing GDP of member States, thus better welfare for citizens.

Company officials in the Gambia have expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration & Employment of the Gambia and ECOWAS for the approval.

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