• Areas of Intervention

    Areas of Intervention

Nigeria’s Economic Integration into ECOWASSEDIN’sTrade Policy and Facilitation Unit supports reducing administrative hurdles to domestic and intra-regional trade by removing physical trade barriers and supporting border management reforms; facilitating participatory and evidence-based policy making and implementation; sensitising the private sector including MSMEs on the potential s and procedures of intra-ECOWAS trade; as well as promoting Nigerian exports into the sub-region.


SEDIN’s Trade Policy and Facilitation (TPF) Unit aims to empower the Nigerian government and Nigerian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to bring down administrative hurdles that restrain domestic and regional trade and to increasingly make use of its potentials.

The TPF Unit strengthens the capacity of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and other Nigerian public and private sector actors, to put into practice protocols and other policy measures adopted at ECOWAS-level that aim to boost trade within the sub-region. Since it brings down the transaction costs associated with getting goods and services in and out of Nigeria, MSME-friendly trade policy and trade facilitation are pivotal ingredients in creating the enabling environment necessary for Nigerian MSMEs to expand their businesses and for foreign firms to invest in Nigeria’s non-oil sectors.

Through cooperation with the Organised Private Sector (OPS) and other non-state actors such as the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS), the TPF Unit aims to help sensitise trade policy users, in particular MSMEs, about their rights and obligations under ECOWAS trade-related rules and regulations.

SEDIN’s TPF Unit works with its partners to put in place tools for monitoring remaining trade facilitation bottlenecks, in an effort to add to the basis for constructive public-private dialogue and effective implementation of intra-agency reforms.

Results achieved

In an effort to boost the capacity of Nigeria’s trade-related Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in putting in place a coherent and MSME-friendly trade policy environment, capacity assessments e.g. at the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI) and selected Organized Private Sector (OPS) Organizations were conducted and recommendations for capacity development formulated.

At NCS the capacity development schedule is currently being implemented. The focus is on assistance to the successful implementation as well as monitoring of the Common External Tariff (CET). Furthermore, the Human Resource Development structure is supported in order to enhance the NCS’ own training capacities.

Also at FMITI, the training schedule that has been developed which features various management and trade related workshops is currently being rolled out.  

In terms of OPS support, the SEDIN programme supports sensitisation workshops for the private sector on identified technical issues relating to ECOWAS trade rules and regulations. A series of workshops and trainings covering topics such as features and effects of the newly adopted ECOWAS CET,  Rules of Origin, and Export requirements under the ETLS  have taken place in Niger, Plateau and Ogun States; in implementing these activities SEDIN collaborated with various OPS representatives, State and Federal MDAs like the Ogun State Chambers of Commerce Industries Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA), Niger State Chambers of Commerce, Industries Mines and Agriculture (NSCCIMA) and the Manufactures Association of Nigeria (MAN), Niger State Commodities and Export Promotion Agencies (NSCEPA) , Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the FMITI. These workshops for the sensitisation of private sector operators, about their ECOWAS related rights and obligations, are supported and complemented by information dissemination tools such as the  ECOWAS Vanguard bi-monthly magazine published by the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and a brochures series with general information on traders’ rights and obligations under ECOWAS trade-related protocols. SEDIN has e.g. produced a Simple Guide to Export into the ECOWAS region as an instrument for encouraging MSMEs to trade regionally under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS). This was complemented by a Public Private Dialogue on the removal of constraints that hinder the process of registration into the ETLS Scheme.

As a means of mapping and monitoring the bottlenecks that prevent regional trade the Enterprise Baseline Survey 2012 (Add-On on Cross-Border Trade Issues in Ogun State) of individuals and MSMEs engaged in formal and informal Cross-Border Trade (CBT) in Ogun State was conducted. The survey has been widely disseminated. 


An integral part of the mapping and monitoring of Trade Facilitation is the Trade Route Incident Mapping System (TRIMS). It is a pilot project in Ogun state for traders and business persons to send anonymous, structured text messages (SMS) to an automated public website (www.trimsonline.org) on barriers to trade caused by bribes, harassment and other human rights violations faced at borders and along major trade routes while conducting daily business. Furthermore, a free app is available for download, which can take reports from all over Nigeria, rather than just the pilot state Ogun State. The sent information, e.g. about time delay, bribes paid, gender of the trader, or location is automatically mapped on a geographical mapping system visualising the trade bottlenecks. Thus far, more than 2000 reports came in and the data has started to spark fruitful discussions between organized groups and associations of the private sector and the security agencies as well as government bodies. A wider reform process is aimed at and first discussions between the State Government of Ogun State and security agencies took place. Sensitisation, communication and media strategies for TRIMS have been developed and rolled out. More information on TRIMS and the data it provides can be found here(www.trimsonline.org).

European UnionAs to further maximise the achievement of the objectives of SEDIN’s Trade Policy and Facilitation Unit, it is complemented by a project co-funded by the European Union and the German Government: ‘Strengthening Nigeria’s Trade Support Institutions’ (SNTSI). The SNTSI project aims to improve the capacity of Trade Support Institutions in both the public and the private sector to facilitate trade through an effective management of trade policy and customs reforms.