Worried about trade tensions between Nigeria and Ghana, members of the private sector in both countries, many of whom are widely affected, have sought to end the imposition of restrictive trade rules and countermeasures between the countries.
Although there are claims of resolution, private sector operators are concerned about the effect on trade and economic development of the two countries.
Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa expressed the willingness of the Government of the Republic of Ghana to cooperate, collaborate and work closely with the Nigerian government for the sustainable development of the economies of both countries.
He said so at the Ghana Nigeria Business Council (GNBC) and Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) CEO Forum 2022 in Lagos yesterday.
Represented by the Consul General of Ghana in Lagos, Madam Samata Gifty Bukari, Bawa, said that the relationship between the two countries has been underpinned by collaborations between their private sectors, adding that this development has positioned Ghana and Nigeria as the two dominant economies in the West. African sub-region.
He mentioned that the ongoing tensions between Ghana and Nigerian traders in Ghana are being resolved. Allow me to reveal that the trade ministers of Ghana and Nigeria late last year signed a joint agreement which establishes a framework to guide engagement between the two countries in resolving issues between Ghanaian retail traders and their Nigerian counterparts.
“I can however assure you that the Government of the Republic of Ghana is committed to the timely implementation of the framework of engagement between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.
“As economic and trade relations between the two countries heat up, as global economies begin to find ways to function amid the pandemic, the desire for deeper business cooperation is growing stronger. It is however discouraging to learn that many Nigerian entrepreneurs still lack knowledge and connectivity to the Ghanaian market. Many are unaware of the huge potentials that exist in Ghana.
“It is a fact that mutual understanding of the economies of our two countries with a positive attitude would further promote and strengthen our bilateral relations and accelerate the growth of trade cooperation,” he said.
In his address, the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, said that for more than five decades, Nigeria and Ghana have established bilateral relations in line with the mutual interest of the two countries for their individual economic development. agenda and shared prosperity for the West African region. The relationship between the two largest economies in the West African sub-region has metamorphosed from trade in goods to international trade in goods and services.
Speaking on the topic “Ease of Doing Business in Ghana for Nigerian Businessmen and Women”, Olawale-Cole, said that this program aims to facilitate conversation about the business environment in Ghana and, most importantly, to deepen awareness on how Nigerian entrepreneurs can explore opportunities in Ghana. without violating applicable laws, policies and several regulatory measures while doing business in Ghana.
He said internationally oriented Nigerian businesses have a deep footprint in Ghana in key economic sectors such as banking, insurance, oil and gas, industrial products, consumer goods, construction and real estate, telecommunications, shipping and freight. Officially, Nigeria has the second largest business portfolio in Ghana, second only to China.
Recently, he said that relations between the two countries have suffered a series of setbacks caused by episodes of attacks and trade disputes. The use of discriminatory trade policies, high tariffs, border closures and a difficult trading environment negatively impacted our trade volumes.
He noted that the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council should work diligently to boost trade between neighboring countries of the two countries.
“We need to strategize to explore the opportunities that arise with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). While both sides have aired their grievances and sought resolutions, we need to go forward to more trade and investment for economic prosperity.
“It is often said that the situation in Ghana seems to escalate as an act of retaliation, whenever Nigeria closes its land borders or when Ghanaian goods, even those which have documented the approval of the Trade Liberalization Scheme of the ECOWAS (ETLS) and enjoy zero duty access to the Nigerian market, are affected by the sudden ban of certain categories of products by the Nigerian government.
The role of the private sector in the quest to achieve the goal of the founding fathers of ECOWAS cannot be overstated. The private sector must be organized to assume the leading role in the process of economic integration. The government needs to create a more conducive environment by creating a conducive atmosphere for trade and investment to flourish.
The Managing Director of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said one of the challenges is the inability of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make foreign exchange available. for the export of certain products.
She said the government should encourage the flow of services and goods between the two countries as this remains one of the most important drivers of job creation and prosperity for both countries.
She also advised the government to eliminate the growing number of non-tariff measures that continue to fragment trade, avoid unnecessary red tape and increase technical cooperation and capacity building, while finding common responses to meet regulatory needs/standards.