The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA), an anti-corruption organisation and a centre for information gathering on public concerns, has called on the authorities to investigate allegations of intimidation by traders who ply the Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire border.
The BIA said most of the traders complain of harassment by security officials, which they view as having a direct link with policies by the trade ministry, to ban inland importation of rice.
Mr. Godfred Nkrumah, BIA Coordinating Director said in a statement issued in Accra that the decision to ban inland importation of rice on October 14, 2013, led to the Ivorian government retaliating by banning import of cashew into Ghana by road.
“Since then bilateral relationship has been very abnormal and trucks loaded with goods are delayed sometimes for days before they are released. Some of these goods include plantain and other foodstuff, which end up getting bad,” the statement said.
The statement said there was initial restriction of cargo trucks with transit goods from Tema Harbour by Ivorian authorities from entering the country through the border.
The BIA is calling for the enhancement of the free trade relationship between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and other French-speaking countries.
BIA said in these times of economic challenges measures must be taken to ease trade.
The statement called on President John Dramani Mahama as the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States to intervene to reverse the situation.
The trade ministry, directed that all importation of rice into the country must be done through the airport or by sea.
The policy, according to the ministry was “intended to provide a framework of administrative procedures through which the numerous unfair trade practices including evasion of import duties and other taxes, under-invoicing, infringement of trademarks, and smuggling shall be controlled”.