Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has raised concerns about the economic impact of Nigeria’s continued border dispute with Benin.
The action, ordered by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in August, has also hit Ghanaian traders hard.
In a meeting with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana Ambassador Olufemi Abikoye, Ms. Botchwey called for immediate action to be taken by Nigeria to address the situation.
“Between the two countries, the land usage to export and for you also to export your goods into Ghana is largely what we use and so we must find a way out because I am not sure what happened to the trucks that have been at the Semi border for weeks now. At some point, we might have to advise them to come back but I think we should find ways of doing it. This is my first point of call which is to discuss this with you. After I have discussed we should move a step higher.”
Ambassador Olufemi Abikoye said the closure is to allow for consultative meetings with its neighboring countries to find lasting solutions to the smuggling of cheap goods into the country.
Nigeria closed its frontiers in what it says is to stop the smuggling of products from its neighboring West African countries into Nigeria.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
The closure of the borders would be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, however, if the issues remain unresolved, there is no guarantee that the borders will be reopened after the twenty-eight (28) days.
The Minister had earlier said stakeholders within the trade chain are being up to the task to tackle the illegal trading activities within the sub-region.
“Institutions responsible for trading activities i.e., Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will have to continue to play their role to ward off illegal trading activities in our market places.”
It also entreated the representatives of GUTA to use established channels to address grievances involving citizens of ECOWAS Member States and not to do anything to derail the peace of the country and the ECOWAS Region, whilst a lasting solution is found to their problems.
The smuggling of goods and sale of substandard products through the eastern corridor is a phenomenon Ghana is battling with thereby having severe consequences on revenue mobilization.
As a result of this development, GUTA has constantly asked authorities to strictly enforce the country’s laws on foreign trade.