The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has reacted to calls by the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) for the closure of Ghana’s Eastern border in the wake of the Nigeria-Benin border closure.
Chief Executive Officer of the AGI, Seth Twum Akwaboah tells Ghana-based newspaper, JoyBusiness, any retaliatory action from Ghana will complicate ongoing trade negotiations with Nigeria. “If we also go and close our border, then it means you are virtually perpetrating wrongdoing. Rather, we should appeal to them.
In the interim, let’s wait to see how the talks will go. The way to go is to deal with the challenge instead of opening ourselves up to more challenges.”
President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, who had earlier lamented the slow intervention by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on this trade impasse, impressed on Ghanaian authorities to close down the Eastern border to imports from the Nigerian market to check smuggling of goods into Ghana’s market.
“At this point, the situation has become two-fold and we foresee goods being smuggled through the Eastern Corridor due to what is happening in Nigeria. Already, Ghanaian traders are locked out from Nigeria.
Goods are also locked up there. The other point will see our markets flooded with smuggled goods if not checked. It must be shut down as a matter of urgency,” he stated. Obeng argues the issue, if not checked, could hamper the Continental Free Trade Area.
According to him, “The CFTA rests solely on already existing protocols and if care is not taken, countries like Nigeria will bully their way into the agreement area, this is unfair trade and could hamper the whole CFTA”.
So far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has appealed to Ghanaian traders to remain calm as it works with the Nigerian authority to ease its ban on the exportation of Non-Traditional products into the latter’s market.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry said: “it empathizes with the traders who have to deal with the ban and the closure of Seme-Krake, Igolo and Idiroko borders without prior notice to the ECOWAS Member States”.
The Foreign Ministry said this is having a consequential impact on regional trade and people-to-people contact. “In addition to the closure of the borders and its effects, Ghana has to deal with measures already enforced in Nigeria that have made it difficult for Ghanaian traders to export Non-Traditional products into the Nigerian markets in spite of the ECOWAS trade Liberation Scheme,” the statement said.