By Naomi Uzor
THE government of Ghana has urged Nigeria to remove all bottlenecks, extortions, and harassments across the borders to enhance intra-Africa trade.
Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Carlos Ahenkora, who made the call during Ghana special day at the ongoing Lagos International Trade Fair, urged the Federal Government to revisit and lift the ban on the 41 items to facilitate the movement of goods and services along the Ghana-Nigeria corridor.
According to him, in spite of the seemingly rosy economic and business relations between the two countries, there are still outstanding issues that need to be dealt with in order to facilitate the movement of goods and services along the Ghana-Nigeria corridor.
“We do have issues with the Prohibition List; we are equally worried about the flagrant disregard for the ECOWAS Protocol on trade (ETLS) and the difficulties associated with NAFDAC certifications. Many discussions between Ghana and Nigeria have sought to deal with these obstacles including a recent Permanent Joint Commission and Cooperation meeting held in Accra.
“However, as of now, the obstacles are still present. I think it is time for action; it is time to walk the talk. I hope the Ghana- Nigeria Business Council will take these matters and expeditiously deal with them,” he said.
Ghana’s Consul General in Nigeria, Mr. Maxwell Awiagah, said Nigeria is currently losing business in the timber industry due to too many harassments, extortion and delays on the road by some Nigeria security officers. “Ghana timber use to do very well in Nigeria but now it has collapsed and it was as a result of harassments. The complaint of extortions of some of the security officials is always too much. A journey that will take less than two days will take over a month. Now, Ghanaians decided to go all the way to China to get their plywood, it takes just two weeks and it comes out well, all sawed and plain, a complete finishing,” he said.
The President of LCCI, Chief Nike Akande, said the export promotion functions of Ghana Export Promotion Council have positively impacted intra-African trade and especially within the West African coast. “Nigeria and Ghana have enjoyed robust bilateral trade and diplomatic relations spanning decades,” she said.
There is a need for us in West Africa to work towards the achievement of more efficient ports that would facilitate trade among the economies in sub-Saharan economic bloc. We congratulate the management of Ghana Export Promotion Council in promoting trade between Nigeria and Ghana,” she said.