The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has said it sees signs that Nigeria will soon reopen its trade borders which have been under closure for weeks now.
AGI President, Seth Twum Akwaboah, explains that a meeting that the Trade Ministry had with Nigeria’s representatives in Abuja last week yielded positive consensus between the Ghanaian delegation and the Nigerian hosts.
“…just yesterday, there was a trip to Abuja which AGI was invited to be part of to go and discuss with the Nigerian counterparts how this issue could be resolved. And I must say we have had good results, I wouldn’t say positive yet because it has not been opened yet, but at least strong indication there will be the need to open the borders very soon,” Seth Twum Akwaboah noted after returning to Ghana.
President Muhamadu Buhari unexpectedly closed Nigeria’s borders to imported goods in August declaring the time had come to end rampant smuggling across the country’s porous frontiers.
The closure has had a devastating effect on Benin, Ghana and neighbours of Nigeria, which has been key trading partners to Africa’s most populous country.
Last week, Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service confirmed the total ban. His announcement was the first official confirmation of a total shutdown in trade across Nigeria’s land borders – including goods that had been moving legally.
“We are strategizing on how best the goods can be handled when we eventually get to the point where this operation will relax for the influx of goods,” he said. Per the new measure, all imports are to go into Nigeria through its ports
The measure does not affect Nigeria’s oil exports. African countries, such as Ghana have complained that the measure is unfair.
“First of all the closure of the borders is unfair to the spirit of ECOWAS, it is unfair to the spirit of AFCT and it is the reason why industries in Ghana have complained,” Seth Twum Akwaboah, the AGI President notes. He laments that because of the ban, Ghanaian exports to the Nigerian market are stranded at Benin while Nigerians freely export to Ghana’s market.