Business News of 2014-06-07

Trade war between Ghana and Ivory Coast

The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA) an anti-corruption organisation and a centre for information gathering on public concerns, has criticised some policies by the Trade Ministry, which is threatening relationship between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

BIA’s monitored reports indicate that the tension arising between the two countries is as a result of the ban of inland rice importation by the Ministry for the past seven months.

Ms Cynthia Essandoh, BIA Coordinator said in a statement issued in Accra that the decision to ban inland importation of rice was said to have been taken by the Ministry without proper consultation with stakeholders. The Ministry on October 14, 2013 directed that all importation of rice into the country must be done through the airport or by sea.

The statement claimed that the Ivorian government retaliated by banning import of cashew into Ghana by road.

“On January 4, 2014 the Ministry published that the ban has been lifted. Our investigations revealed that a letter dated on January 6, 2014 was signed by the Acting Chief Director of the Trade Ministry, Mr Dawarnoba Baeka on behalf of the Minister, and was sent to the to the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority to restrict rice importers from bringing in their goods through the Ivorian border.”

The statement said investigations by BIA have revealed that the inland ban of cashew importation and the initial restriction of cargo trucks by Ivory Coast authorities from entering their country from Ghana through their border were fuelled by Ghana’s Trade Ministry’s ban on inland rice importation through the common border of the two countries.

The BIA is advocating the lifting of the ban by the Trade Ministry to enhance the free trade relationship between Ivory Coast and Ghana. The bureau says it fears the possibility that other neighbouring French-speaking countries will adopt policies, which can go a long way to worsen the plight of traders in Ghana.

BIA claimed that the action of the Trade Ministry is denting the image of the government and is therefore calling on the Ministry to revise the policy amidst the current economic challenges. It said if measures are not taken quickly to reverse it, it would collapse the business of traders.

The statement called on President John Dramani Mahama as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States to intervene in the uprising trade tension between Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Source: GNA
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