Deployment of SIGMAT: Meeting of Customs Directors General of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor

On June 24 and 25, 2024, Lomé, the capital of Togo, hosted a crucial meeting of the Directors General of Customs from the member states of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo). This meeting, focused on the deployment of the Interconnected Transit Goods Management System (SIGMAT), was held under the auspices of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme Task Force.

Placed within the framework of implementing the recommendations from the high-level ministerial meeting held in Cotonou in October 2023, this event aimed to explore solutions to overcome obstacles to the trade of goods along the corridor. The meeting brought together representatives from the five member states, members of the ETLS Task Force, and representatives from the Directorate of Customs Union and Taxation of the ECOWAS Commission.

During the meeting, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Ibn CHAMBAS, President of the ETLS Task Force, emphasized the importance of free movement and economic integration for regional development. He praised the SIGMAT initiative as a means to secure transit between member states and mobilize essential customs revenue. He reaffirmed the Task Force’s commitment to support customs administrations in the deployment of SIGMAT across the region.

After two days of constructive debates, the customs administrations resolved to connect to the “SIGMAT e-hub” by the end of September 2024 and to launch awareness and training activities on SIGMAT. The participants also invited the ECOWAS Commission to encourage other member states to join the SIGMAT e-hub and to create a dedicated website to ensure transparency and communication about this transit solution.

This meeting in Lomé marks a significant step towards the automation of transit along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, thereby strengthening regional economic integration and facilitating trade between ECOWAS member states. The deployment of SIGMAT promises to transform the landscape of goods transit in West Africa, bringing efficiency, security, and transparency.



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