TOGO – The Togolese Revenue Office (OTR) has clarified that only goods arriving at the Port of Lomé by sea and declared as transit-bound for Burkina Faso, Mali, or Niger would benefit from the suspension of the statistical levy.

This levy, initially set at 2% and later reduced to 1% under the ECOWAS Common External Tariff regime, supports the country’s statistical activities.

The move is strategically aimed at discouraging operators who reroute their goods through neighboring ports, emphasizing the significance of the Port of Lomé.

“The suspension of the statistical levy for specific transit-bound goods reflects our commitment to bolstering the Port of Lomé’s role as a crucial maritime gateway,” stated a representative from the Togolese Revenue Office.

This announcement assumes greater significance in the wake of the closure of the Benin-Niger border due to ECOWAS sanctions against Niger.

With goods for Niger compelled to traverse the Ouaga-Niamey-Bamako corridor, Lomé stands as the natural maritime gateway, offering a more viable route for transportation.

Furthermore, heightened security concerns along the Porga route in Benin have redirected goods destined for Burkina Faso from the Port of Cotonou to pass through Kara in Togo, which is deemed a safer alternative.

Lomé seeks to capitalize on this opportunity by providing its Sahel customers with a cost-effective and secure transit option.

“Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger exiting ECOWAS to form the Alliance of Sahel States has reshaped regional trade dynamics. Togo, with its strategic geographical location, is poised to leverage these changes for mutual economic benefits,” commented an industry expert.

Economic impacts

Recent data from the National Statistics Institute of Togo (INSEED) reveals that Togo recorded exports worth CFA102.6 billion to ECOWAS nations in Q4 2023.

The country’s imports from ECOWAS during the same period amounted to CFA49.6 billion, resulting in an impressive trade surplus of CFA53 billion.

“Lomé’s trade surplus underscores its pivotal role in regional trade dynamics, with the bustling Port of Lomé driving re-export activities,” highlighted an INSEED representative.

Despite diplomatic tensions with Sahelian nations and sanctions against Niger, Togo managed to sustain quarterly exports to other ECOWAS states at an average of CFA100 billion throughout the previous year.

The year-on-year export value to ECOWAS states did experience a 9.1% decline, but from Q3 2023 to Q4 2023, there was a notable uptick of 6.8%.

On a broader scale, within the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Togo’s exports totaled CFA 84.7 billion in Q4 2023, compared to imports of CFA 28.6 billion, resulting in a robust trade surplus of CFA56 billion.

The ECOWAS and WAEMU collectively accounted for 40% and 30% of Togo’s global exports in Q4 2023, showcasing the significance of these partnerships.

In conclusion, Togo’s strategic moves, coupled with the suspension of the statistical levy, underscore the nation’s commitment to fortifying its position as a pivotal maritime gateway and fostering regional economic growth through strategic trade alliances.

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