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29.08.2004 Business & Finance

Harassment at barriers poses problems

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Kumasi, Aug. 29, GNA - Participants at a business forum in Kumasi have called on the governments of Ghana and La Cote d'Ivoire to evolve strategies to reduce the many police, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) check-points between the two countries.

They said the various formalities and the cash the personnel of these security agencies collect from traders and other travellers before they reach their final destination to engage in their businesses was unbearable and discouraging to trade between the two countries.

They expressed these sentiments at a joint conference and trade forum organised by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) as part of the on-going weeklong Ghana-Ivorian Week in Kumasi on Thursday.

The participants, who came from various business houses and organisations in Kumasi and Treichville in Cote d'Ivoire, said the removal or reduction of such barriers would not only promote business links between the two countries but also indicate that the two countries were one with a common aspiration.

The other issues they expressed concern about were the language barrier and other human problems such as stigmatisation and discrimination, which they said pragmatic solutions should be found to in order to facilitate smooth and flourishing trade and businesses between the two sister countries.

Opening the forum earlier, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, said the government of Ghana was doing all that it could to bring peace to the people of Cote d'Ivoire. He was optimistic that if this was done the other social and human problems could be resolved to enhance business development between the two countries.

Mr Jumah said the twinning relations between Treichville in Cote d'Ivoire and Kumasi was just the beginning in the areas of trade and other social endeavours and expressed the hope that all would support to cement it.

Mr Francois Albert Amichia, Mayor of Treichville, said the signing of economic treaties were mere paper work unless the people involved sat down to assess the real problems involved to find solutions to them. He said there was the need for people of the two countries to work hard to take advantage of the issues related to decentralisation to help better their social, economic and political state.

Mr Amichia said before the Ivorian delegates returned home, he would make sure that an office was established in Kumasi so that the idea of twinning the cities would be signed to bring the idea into reality. "If we succeed, towns like Takoradi, Tema and others can also twin with cities in Cote d'Ivoire," he said. 29 Aug. 04