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Business News Thu, 31 Jul 2008

Nigeria investment in Ghana hits $580m

President Musa Yar’Adua and his Ghanaian counterpart have agreed on the establishment of the Nigeria-Ghana Chamber of Commerce even as Nigerian investment in Ghana is put at $580 million. Musiliu Obanikoro, Nigeria High Commissioner in Ghana disclosed this in Abuja during a press conference on Ghana-Nigeria Business Summit 2008.

Obanikoro who said the Nigeria-Ghana Chamber of commerce would be launched at the end of the summit added that the measure would enhance trade activities between the two countries.

"It is for the common good of the two countries and at the end of the summit we are going to launch Ghana-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, Presidents Yar’Adua and John Kufor have been briefed and they are in full support of the initiative," the High Commissioner stated. On the challenges being faced by the Nigerian traders in Ghana, Obanikoro said the Federal Government has intervened and the two countries have set up committees to find lasting solution to the problem.

Though he agreed that some of the issues have political undertone, Obanikoro believed that they should not hinder trade activities between the two countries. He said most of the problems could be traced to Nigerian traders who still believed in doing business haphazardly.

"We have taken our internal ways of doing business to Ghana but Ghana has a well organised structure where those things are not allowed. You can imagine that most of them did not register their businesses before operating," he lamented. Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, George Kumi said the policy which led to the challenges was not aimed at Nigerian businessmen but just to protect the small and medium enterprises in Ghana.

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While lamenting that there were bottlenecks in trans-border business between the two countries, the high commissioner believed that the way out was to liberalise trade between the two countries.

Kumi who noted that what Nigeria and Ghana need is increase in trade investment and not foreign aids, said the business cooperation between the two countries would go along way in alleviating poverty.

"We need to move away from the old way of over protecting our internal trade. There should be free flow of goods from Ghana to Nigeria and vice versa. Mustapha Bello, executive secretary, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) who put the foreign direct investment (FDI) to Nigeria in 2006 at $40.5 billion while that of Ghana was lower than that believed that "we need to come together and develop our trade in West Africa."

Michael Ajayi, managing director, Vintage Vision Ghana, facilitator of the summit said there was need to reverse over dependence on non African support and maximise the trade opportunity available in sub region.

Source: ISAAC AREGBESOLA
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