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04.05.2005 General News

Ghana, Burkina Faso pledge closer cooperation

By GNA

Bolgatanga, May 4, GNA- Ghana and Burkina Faso are to establish a joint business forum to strengthen economic ties.

The two countries also renewed their commitment to the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and pledged to work towards the elimination of all bottlenecks that impede the smooth functioning of the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme.

These agreements were contained in a report adopted at the end of a three-day bilateral technical cooperation meeting in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

Dr Lanto Harding, Head of Policy Coordination and Implementation Division of the Ministry of Regional Cooperation/NEPAD and leader of Ghana's delegation, and the Head of the Burkinabe delegation, Madam Jacqueline Zaba, Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation of Burkina Faso endorsed the agreements. The report stressed the need for the joint Bilateral Technical Committee to meet twice every year to facilitate the implementation of the report.

The meting urged the Heads of State and Governments of Ghana and Burkina Faso to meet regularly to build on the agreements.

On the free movement of persons and goods, the two sides acknowledged the importance of a joint border post to be constructed at Paga under phase one of the Ghana-Burkina Faso Road Project. They recommended that the Ministers in charge of the project in the two countries should ensure proper coordination by providing adequate information to all stakeholders involved.

Both countries acknowledged the inconveniences posed by the numerous road checkpoints from Accra to Ouagadougou and pledged to reduce the number to four.

They agreed to implement the ECOWAS Interstate Road Transit Convention and committed themselves to ensuring that non-designated or snap checkpoints would not be a constraint to free movement of properly documented transit vehicles.

The meeting called for the immediate implementation of the proposed one-stop centre at the ports in Ghana to facilitate transit formalities, and urged both countries to adopt the satellite system of monitoring haulage vehicles in transit, in view of the disadvantages associated with the physical escort of such vehicles.

The Burkinabe side suggested the need for their nationals who had once worked in Ghana to be able to collect their pension benefits from the Ghana High Commission in Ouagadougou to safe them the ordeal of travelling to Ghana every month for their monies.

To this end, the Ghana side requested that detailed information on the retired workers involved be made available to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning through the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD for action.

The two sides recommended that social security authorities of both countries should come to an agreement on an acceptable formula of payment of benefits.

The meeting called for an intensified cultural exchange programme between Ghana and Burkina Faso and proposed that restaurants in both countries serve each other's traditional dishes for the benefit of their peoples.

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