The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has said efforts are being made to meet the President of Nigeria to explore ways of dealing with the extreme difficulties faced by Ghanaian traders and companies following the closure of the Nigeria borders since August 21, 2019.
She noted that the closure of the borders have significantly disrupted trade in the sub-region and the meeting with the Nigerian President would explore the possibility of restoring normal trade under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) liberalisation trade scheme.
Ms Botchwey stated these in Accra yesterday when she met with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana to deliberate over the issue and to fashion out ways of resolving the problem.
The two also discussed how to curb smuggling, illicit export of weapons and drugs and security challenges in the sub-region.
Nigeria closed its border to Benin on August 20, 2019 in an attempt to stop the smuggling of contraband goods, including food and petrol, across the border, a situation which has had devastating impact on Benin, Nigeria’s neighbour to the west, that has been a key exporter of foodstuffs to Africa’s most populous country.
Ms Botchwey said such an “action should be surgically precise, targeting the source of the problem without creating extreme disruption to trade within the region.”
“The closure of the borders has had considerable disruption to trade in the sub-region with grave consequential economic effects on Ghanaian traders,” she added.
The Minister explained that currently Ghanaian traders, particularly those whose perishable goods were stranded at the borders were losing substantial revenue.
“Continuation of the closure of the border without an end in sight may lead to political tension in countries severely affected,” she stated.
She called for an urgent review of the decision to close the borders to ensure a return to normal regional trade, in the interest of the commitments of West African countries to regional integration.
In response, the Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, Olufemi Michael Abikoye thanked the Ministry for giving his country a listening ear and assured of Nigeria’s commitment to find an amicable solution to the problem.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY