The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) is accusing Nigeria of unfair trade practices calling on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission to intervene.
GUTA in a statement signed and issued in Accra yesterday by the the National Organiser, Mr Clement Boateng, claimed goods destined for the Nigerian market were stranded at the Benin border to Nigeria, causing financial loss to exporters.
Nigeria, he said, has closed its borders with neighbouring West African countries for almost two months now.
According to him, the Nigerian government’s reason for the closure was to protect its local rice farmers from rice being smuggled into its market, an excuse he described as flimsy.
“If Nigeria has the audacity to say that they will not allow any country to bring in their goods because they want to protect their market, I think it is unfair,” Mr Boateng said.
Earlier, the Nigerian government in its Prohibited and Restricted Imports list banned the importation of 45 products including rice, cement, textile products cocoa butter, powder and cakes as well as other products it currently manufactures.
GUTA , the National organiser said was surprised at the silence of the ECOWAS Commission and the Ministry of Trade and Industry on the development.
“Nigeria thinks they are the giants in West Africa and for that matter they want to dictate the pace of ECOWAS. We think this is wrong and it is about time the ECOWAS Commission speaks about it,” Clement Boateng lamented.
He said the restriction affects not only all West African countries but also Ghanaian traders, defusing concerns that Nigeria was retaliating move by Ghanaian traders to eject foreigners, especially Nigerians, doing retailing in Ghana.
Mr Boateng noted that while Ghana was suffering from similar challenges of smuggling, any action it took to enforce her laws, ECOWAS Commission always steps in to put pressure in the name of sub-regional integration.
“All that GUTA can do now was to put pressure on the current authorities to do something about the closure of the borders”, the statement concluded.
BY TIMES REPORTER