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GUTA president calls on government to have dialogue with Benin over border closure

Mon, 1 Mar 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) Dr Joseph Obeng has called on the Akufo-Addo-led administration to put in measures to address the current challenges the country is facing in exporting and importing products to and from neighbouring country Benin.

According to Dr Joseph Obeng, Benin’s decision to pull out of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade agreement is affecting businesses locally leading to losses in revenue.

In an interview with GhanaWeb, Dr Joseph Obeng explained that businesses in Ghana are having challenges exporting their goods to Benin due to the high rate of export duty fares the country charges on goods.

“For the cross-border trading to be effective, all countries must be on board…companies have started complaining about the fact that they now have to pay duty where they were [initially] not paying. So it has really affected them and it is becoming difficult for them to trade their goods…also that place [Benin] being a senior corridor between Ghana and Nigeria, the biggest players in West Africa, then, of course, it will be worrying because transitions of goods will also be a problem. So the earlier the government gets to speak with their counterparts in Benin the better because Ghana is a respectful country and talking to Benin will yield a positive result,” he said.

He further stated that “what Nigeria did was bad and that is what Benin is trying to do. Closing its borders won’t help grow the West Africa economy and what Nigeria did affect their economy and they said they did that to soar up their revenue without thinking about the large Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) community.”

The French-speaking country has, for some time now, closed its borders to other West Africa countries and increased trade tariffs, depriving other countries from exporting their goods to their country.

Benin’s attempt to stop implementing the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme for the past six months has had adverse effects on the promotion of regional economic integration.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com