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Regional News of Thursday, 22 October 2015

Source: GNA

ECOWAS biometric card comes off in January 2016

Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng, National Director of ECOWAS at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, says member countries are to introduce common biometric identity cards to ensure free movement of persons across the sub-region.

She made this known at a day’s seminar in Tamale on Tuesday to sensitise public sector workers, security agencies and civil society groups as part of processes to deepen understanding of the new protocols and arrangements towards full integration of the sub-region.

She said the biometric card is one of the major indicators that would enhance the free movement of persons from one ECOWAS country to the other for economic activities.

She noted that integration is about fostering a sense of community to ensure the free movement of factors of production.

Mrs Siaw-Boateng said peace and security must be paramount thing among countries in the sub-region.

She commended President John Dramani Mahama for distinguishing himself effectively during his tenure as the ECOWAS Chairman.

She said during the president’s term of office, peace and security was his topmost priority.

She challenged the security agencies to play their roles more effectively in ensuring peace saying: “It is our supreme interest that ECOWAS works.”

She urged the media to deliver accurate and informative news that would educate the public about the ECOWAS protocols while minimising the negative reportage on the sub-region.

Alhaji Mohammed Limuna-Muniru, Northern Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf said ECOWAS protocols if effectively implemented would improve the socio-economic development of member countries.

He commended the security in the region for being proactive in maintaining peace despite the challenges that they face in their operations.

Mr Bonaventure Adzavor, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs observed that land-lock countries within ECOWAS have diverted their cargo transport from Ghana to Ivory Coast en-route.

He said Ghana is losing trade due to difficulties experienced on the roads.

He said Ghana must make sure its borders and roads very attractive to earn income for the country.