GEPA to seek presidential intervention on closure of Nigeria-Benin trade borders

Deputy CEO of GEPA, Albert Kassim Diwura

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority ((GEPA) will in the coming days be raising concerns over recent trade policy by Nigeria with President Akufo-Addo.

Nigeria has closed down its trade borders to Benin and other neighbouring countries. The move, according to Nigerian authorities is to check smuggling.

Speaking at the 4th Breakfast meeting organized by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Deputy CEO of GEPA, Albert Kassim Diwura explains that the gravity of this development deserves some intervention from President Akufo-Addo.

“We are closely taking in the concerns of Ghanaian exporters. As an export facilitator, it is our duty to ensure that exporters have an enabling environment to do business, especially under the ECOWAS Treaties. We will require presidential intervention on this matter looking at how serious the matter is,” he told JoyBusiness.

So far, countries hardest hit the hardest by Nigeria’s new trade policy include Benin and Ghanaian exporters whose goods are currently locked up at the other sides of the Ghana-Benin frontier.

With the financing of exports being one of the major challenges faced young businesses, trade decisions like that of Nigeria is feared to not only stall export margins but also pose as a disincentive especially as Ghana prepares for the Continental Free Trade Agreement Area.

Mr Kassim Diwura highlighted some arrangements from the side of government to remedy the situation saying “financing of local exports is very crucial and that is why we have the EXIM Bank available among other institutions. We will look at the best sectors of export to see which ones need considerable attention when it comes to credit financing”.

So far, the Nigerian government insists there is no end in sight to the partial closure of land borders until the condition of smuggling is checked for the mutual benefit of all neighbouring countries.

The 4th CEO Breakfast Meeting forms part of the four quarterly meetings in 2019. The theme for this meeting was, ‘Promoting Trade and Export Financing to support Ghana’s Industrialization Drive.’ 

The platform is to create an enabling environment for GIPC to partner stakeholders in the industrial sector to solicit viable solutions on how to boost export promotion.

US, Africa Discuss Trade, Investment Opportunities   

THE US government recently engaged African ministers on the best ways to dramatically increase trade and investment within the continent.

The high-level bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the just-ended UN General Assembly (UNGA) was hosted by US Deputy Secretary, John Sullivan.

Speaking with journalists in a telephone briefing on recent events at UNGA, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor P. Nagy Jr., said participants at the meeting talked about the new U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the doubling of funding and also how to prosper Africa.

“But what I was really excited about was to hear directly from the African ministers as to what they are doing in their environments to improve attraction for U.S. business people,” he said.

The Assistant Secretary of State expressed the strong conviction that Africa needed U.S. businesses to bring the jobs that Africa’s young people wanted currently and in future, citing General Electric as a classic example.

He said the projected growth in Africa’s population which was expected to double by 2050 represented a tremendous opportunity for economic growth, prosperity and dynamism.

“What we need, basically, is to get out of the way of those young people, which means better governance, better rules, better environments for business so that all those businesses around the world that want to invest in Africa will come in and invest in Africa and create jobs for all of those millions of young people,” Nagy Jr. said.

The telephone briefing also touched on issues of international importance in Mali, the Sahel and Sudan.

However, Nagy Jr. noted that unfortunately the Sahel was one of the more problematic areas on the continent with serious deterioration last year. “So the international community is very engaged on trying to figure out a way on how to address that,” he added.

He noted that the entire international community was extremely excited about the positive developments in Sudan, especially how it could support Sudan to come out successfully.

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