The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, has said that the government is currently negotiating a dispute settlement protocol under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to ensure free trade movement.
This is forms part of the government’s effort to protect traders and trading activities among countries so they do not flout trade barrier laws. Also to establish a platform for member countries of AfCFTA in dispute settlement.
Also, Mr Kyeremanten said any country that is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) can file an action against the other if they flouts trade laws which are instituted.
The New Protocol
“The closure of the Nigerian border can be considered as a trade barrier and we have negotiated under the AfCFTA, a protocol on dispute settlement”, he said.
Furthermore he said “so unlike what exists in the current protocol, any country that feels aggrieved by an act or issue by another country that is part of the AfCFTA can file an action against that particular country or trading group.”
“We are also required by the law to resolve that matter so it’s not going to be business as usual as it currently exists,” he added.
Nigeria’s border closure and AfCTA
In 2019, the Nigerian government closed its borders after banning the importation of some 45 products including rice, cement, textile products cocoa butter and other products it currently manufactures.
In August of the same year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a partial closure of the Togo-Benin border to check the smuggling of cheap goods into Nigeria.
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), earlier described Nigeria’s border closure as a breach of ECOWAS protocol.
GUTA said it was disappointed at the government of Ghana’s silence on Nigeria’s decision to shut its borders in contravention on trade and exports of goods and people.
President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng earlier said “several goods destined for the Nigerian market are now stranded at the Togo-Benin border.
Most of our Ghanaian traders have had their goods locked up at these borders for months and that doesn’t augur well for the trade and exports of goods.”