The president of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng, explained that the Ghanaian authorities must close down the Eastern border to imports from Nigeria to check smuggling of goods into Ghana’s market.
“At this point, the situation has become two-fold and we foresee goods being smuggled through the Eastern Corridor due to what is happening in Nigeria. Already, Ghanaian traders are locked out from Nigeria. Goods are also locked up there. The other point will see our markets flooded with smuggled goods if not checked. It must be shut down as a matter of urgency.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has called on Ghanaian traders to stay calm as it works with the Nigerian authority to lift the ban on the exportation of Non-Tradition products into the latter’s market.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry said: “it empathizes with the traders who have to deal with the ban and the closure of Seme-Krake, Igolo and Idiroko borders without prior notice to the ECOWAS Member States”.
“In addition to the closure of the borders and its effects, Ghana has to deal with measures already enforced in Nigeria that have made it difficult for Ghanaian traders to export Non-Traditional products into the Nigerian markets in spite of the ECOWAS trade Liberation Scheme,” the statement added.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the partial closing of its border with Benin in August. A few weeks after that he ordered the closure of all borders. This was to curb the smuggling of rice and other commodities into West Africa’s largest economy.
This has affected all West African countries including Ghana.
The border restrictions are coming 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.
Dr Obeng said that the closure if not checked, could hamper the Continental Free Trade Area.
According to him, “The CFTA rests solely on already existing protocols and if care is not taken, countries like Nigeria will bully their way into the agreement area, this is unfair trade and could hamper the whole CFTA”.