‘Allow Ghanaian traders to clear goods at Nigeria border’ – GUTA
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) wants the government of Nigeria to open its borders temporarily to enable stranded Ghanaian traders clear their goods at the border.
According to the Association, some of its members are facing challenges in Nigeria as a result of the border closure.
Nigerian President Mahamudu Buhari in August ordered a partial closure of their border with Togo and Benin to check the smuggling of cheap goods and in some cases weapons into Nigeria.
Nigeria’s borders were later shut down completely the following month.
The General Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional branch of GUTA, Nana Poku told The New Publisher Ghanaian traders will explore other countries to transact their businesses after their request has been granted.
“Give us some leeway; week or two or three. Let’s clear those goods that are stuck there [at the border]. Go and look at the way the drivers are suffering there. It’s a serious challenge. It’s difficult for them to come and go in. So let’s give that leeway with strict security alert and for that duration, when you are done you can close it for perpetuating so that Ghanaians will look elsewhere for their trading activities and businesses,” he stated.
He further debunked all speculations suggesting that the Ministry of Trade is championing their drive to drive to push foreign retailers away.
Nana Poku emphasized that his organisation is currently focused on educating the foreign retail traders on Ghanaian laws to allow them make their decisions to abandon the trade peacefully.
“What we are doing right now is educating the foreign retailers with the laws of Ghana for them to leave the market peacefully. If they resist there are so many ways to handle the situation to save the name Ghana through non-violent means,” he said.
He said the foreign traders aside creating undue competition also sell inferior products which is at the detriment of the Ghanaian consuming public.
“I have evidence whereby instead of hospital supplies being given to Ghanaian companies it is being offered to Nigerian companies who are actually supplying these hospitals with fake products. I was present when we seized fake disinfectants and other products,” he revealed.
Nigeria closed its borders to stop what it called the smuggling of products from its neighboring West African countries into the country.
The decision explained is aimed at preventing weapons and drugs from entering the country and not just to stop food smuggling, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said.
The border closure has, however, received widespread criticism from across the sub-region.
Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Abikoye, in a meeting with Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey after the decision said the closure is to allow for consultative meetings with its neighboring countries to find lasting solutions to the smuggling of cheap goods into the country.
After three months of closing the border, Nigeria extended the period for the closure of its frontiers to other countries till January 31, 2020.
The closure which was expected to be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, was extended as a result of the ‘overwhelming success’ the closure had chalked in the face of the country’s economy and security.
GUTA had earlier urged the government to replicate Nigeria’s decision to protect its market from smuggled goods.
The President of the Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng said Ghana should learn from Nigeria and also sanitize its sector.
Meanwhile, there have been moves by the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and some other groups to meet with representatives from Nigeria to set out modalities on how Ghanaian traders may easily cross the Nigerian-Benin border with their goods.