All border towns must check smuggling

Certain accusations or admissions are difficult to make publicly.

Therefore, for the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, to express concern about the smuggling of grains from the country into its neighbours such as Burkina Faso, Niger and other countries and accuse residents of the Upper West Region as being culpable in the crime is an issue that must be taken seriously by all Ghanaians, particularly the people of that region.

At a meeting in Wa with staff of the Department of Agriculture across the region on Monday, Dr Akoto  said categorically that “this region has issues with smuggling;  first it was the smuggling of government’s subsidised fertiliser to Burkina Faso and other areas, which has been halted due to reduction in the subsidy and now attention has been shifted to the smuggling of large quantities of grains which are harvested in abundance as a result of government’s interventions in the agriculture sector.”

We join the minister in condemning the attitude as uncalled-for and reiterate his question as to why huge tonnes of the country’s grains should be smuggled into countries whose governments have not contributed anything to their production to deny their consumption by Ghanaians whose taxes the government has used to improve the agricultural gains of the country.

We know first and foremost that not every resident of the Upper West Region is involved in the crime of smuggling the country’s grains and other agricultural resources but some bad lots.

However, these miscreants have succeeded in tainting the image of the region and the best way to redeem the lost image is to heed the call on residents of border towns in the region to help check the smuggling of food commodities from the country.

This is important because the nation-wrecking practice is inimical to efforts by the government in ensuring food security all year round as the minister has pointed out.

This call to stop smuggling of food items must be extended to residents of all border communities in the country and told in the face to stop aiding the smuggling of other resources.

It is open secret that some residents of border towns smuggle all manner of the country’s commodities into neighbouring countries.

For instance, some border residents have been buying fuel into their vehicles and crossing the border to siphon and sell it at higher prices, while others use containers for the same purpose.

It is clear the smugglers are not in the negative acts alone.

Do they not meet the police, immigration and customs officers?

This means all those who have something to do with security at the country’s borders must heed the call to stop the smuggling through the country’s borders and other entry points.

The government too must make sure the smugglers and those who aid them are punished severely.

And while we say this, we would like to appeal to the good people of the Upper West Region, including the traditional leaders and security personnel in particular, to help stop the smuggling of the grains and absolve themselves of any future accusations.

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