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Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has called on the Nigerian government to find ways of isolating Ghana from its current position of barring the flow of goods and services on its border so that Ghanaians can export their goods into Nigeria without any struggle.
The minister’s call is on the back of Nigeria’s decision to close its borders to neighbouring Benin over issues pertaining to the smuggling of goods into the country which took effect in August 2019.
The move has triggered unfavorable impacts on other countries within the sub-region of which Ghana is no exception.
In an interaction with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Michael Abikoye in a closed-door meeting in Accra Tuesday, October 15, 2019 the Foreign Affairs Minister stated that, goods from Nigeria “are entering Ghana without any problem and I think that we should find ways of isolating issues and the countries that you have problems with so that Ghana’s exporters can enter your market without being lumped up with all these issues that have cropped up”.
Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said the action taken by Nigeria has contributed to monetary losses incurred by businessmen and women who trade along the route.
In the same vein, she added that about 16 trucks of palm oil among other perishable goods which have been locked up at the border are losing substantial revenue.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the partial closure of its border with Benin in August to curb smuggling of rice and other commodities into West Africa’s largest economy.
The blockade has had a severe economic effect across West Africa, with factories and traders struggling to import key raw materials and having to use alternative routes for their exports, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce reported.
The border restrictions come after Nigeria and Benin in July agreed to join the African Continental Free Trade Area, which targets greater economic integration through the removal of trade barriers and tariffs on 90% of commodities.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) had earlier expressed shock at the Government of Ghana’s silence on Nigeria’s decision to close its southern borders in contravention of the ECOWAS treaty on trade and exports of goods and services.
The call for a resolution by the association began when the Nigerian government in its Prohibited and Restricted Imports list banned the importation of some 45 products including rice, cement, textile products cocoa butter and other products it currently manufactures.
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