Ghana's Foreign Affairs Ministry has allayed the fears of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) over the impact of the closure of Nigeria’s borders to member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey says the issue which is affecting the traders’ export of goods is being handled with the best of approaches.
In a statement issued after meeting members of the association, the Ministry said: “we acknowledge the sensitivity of the issue at stake, as Ghanaian citizens are also involved in petty trading in the other ECOWAS Member States. The closure of the Igolor and Seme-Krake (Nigeria-Benin) borders by Nigeria, which is affecting Ghana’s export along that corridor is being handled at the highest level.”
Nigeria closed its frontiers in what it says is to stop smuggling of products from its neighbouring West African countries into Nigeria.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
The closure of the borders would be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, however, if the issues remained unresolved, there was no guarantee that the borders would be reopened after the twenty-eight (28) days.
But, the Minister said stakeholders within the trade chain are being up to the task to tackle the illegal trading activities within the sub-region.
“Institutions responsible for trading activities i.e., Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will have to continue to play their role to ward off illegal trading activities in our market places.”
It also entreated the representatives of GUTA to use established channels to address grievances involving citizens of ECOWAS Member States and not to do anything to derail the peace of the country and the ECOWAS Region, whilst a lasting solution is found to their problems.
The smuggling of goods and sale of substandard products through the eastern corridor is a phenomenon Ghana is battling with thereby having severe consequences on revenue mobilization.
As a result of this development, GUTA has constantly asked authorities to strictly enforce the country's laws on foreign trade.