By Favour Nnabugwu
Sierra Leone has been suspended from the ECOWAS brown card insurance scheme for not paying its contribution to the General Council of Togo over the last three years. The unpaid sum totals 84 000 USD.
Sierra Leonean vehicles are no longer allowed to enter any member country of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with a brown card. Foreign vehicles are also no longer allowed to cross into Sierra Leone with a brown card.
This decision is applicable until the country settles its situation with the General Council in Togo.
The scheme is aimed to achieve the main objective of ECOWAS which is socio- political and economic integration of the sub-region.
Members State of the scheme are Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo
Sierra Leone had been suspended from the scheme as they can not pay there contribution’s to the council in Togo for over three years now, amounting to eighty four thousand dollars $ 85,000.00 and members of staff of the national of in Sierra Leone has been going to meetings within the reference period.
It should be noted that the ECOWAS brown card insurance system was adopted in 1982 to ensure simple and fair compensation to victims of traffic accidents caused by non-resident drivers.
Motor vehicle insurance, which became compulsory in the 1960s in all the countries of the sub-region encountered some challenges which affected free movement of persons goods and services.
The Head of state and Government, concerned about the safety of Road users in the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), have set up a system of automatic coverage and settlement of trans border claim in oder to promote free movement of goods and persons as mentioned in Article 32,33 and 34 of the ECOWAS Treaty on Transport, Communication and Tourism.
The ECOWAS Brown card Insurance Scheme was established by protocol A/P1/5/82 Signed in Cotonou on 29 May 1982 by Heads of state and Government of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS). This protocol has been reviewed and adopted by the 78th session of ECOWAS Council of ministers.
The main objective of the scheme is to insure victims of traffic accident with prompt and fair compensation for damages caused to them by non resident motorist visiting their territory from other ECOWAS member States.
The scheme thus provides a guarantee for motor insurance and subsequently leads to the achievement of free movement as one of the objectives of the community.
The promotion of trade and Tourism between member countries is another objective of the scheme.
In a letter sent to the commissioner of insurance in Sierra Leone written by the council of Bureaux ECOWAS BROWN CARD INSURANCE SCHEME in TOGO signed by the permanent General Secretary Mr Winfred Kwasi DOFDZIH state that Sierra Leonean vehicles are not allowed to enter any ECOWAS country and no foreign vehicles should enter Sierra Leone until Sierra Leone honour it commitment to the general council in Togo.