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26.08.2006 Business & Finance

Ghana, Nigeria To Strengthen Trade Relations

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The Nigerian Government, yesterday pledged its commitment to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and assured local businesses that impediments to Ghanaian exports would soon be removed.

Mr Ahmed Abdul Kadir, Special Advisor to the Nigerian Government on Manufacturing and Private Sector, who gave the assurance in Accra, said it would work with Ghana Government to ensure that by December 2006 trade impediments between the two nations were better improved.

"We are going back to fast track the issue and before the end of the year things must get back to normal for healthy trade relationship between Ghana and Nigeria," he said.

Mr Kadir gave this assurance when he interacted with Executive Officers of major local firms that export products to Nigeria and are facing difficulties.

Some of the problems are delays in clearing goods at the Nigerian ports and harbours, ban on importation of local products and stringent trade conditions, which violates the spirit of ETLS.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative facilitated the meeting, which was to afford Ghanaian businesses the opportunity to explain to the Nigerian Government the difficulties they faced as exporters even as certified members of the ETLS.

Mr Kadir mentioned problems such as trans-shipment of goods from other countries and local content requirement, which compelled the Nigerian Government to take some stringent measures.

He said some of the problems might be coming from the ECOWAS, which had its Secretariat in Abuja and therefore, could not necessarily be emanating from the Nigerian trade authorities as some companies were alluding to.

Mr Alan Keremanten, Sector Minister, stressed the need to abide by the ECOWAS Protocols saying: "Once a company acquire the ETL certificate it has the licence to export duty and quota free to any member country but still there seems to be problems.”

"This issue must come to an end as soon as possible because it is in our interest that trade between Nigeria and Ghana becomes unimpeded," he said.

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