Nigeria border to the west still remains closed while business people trading along the border take the searing heat of financial loss. Much as experts agree that a certain level of protection of a local market is important, Nigeria’s action is causing more harm to the region and even itself.
Negotiations seem to have failed with Nigeria still adamant to close the borders. This is instigating calls for retaliatory measures from other countries in the sub region. In reaction, Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso has stated that retaliation would not help the course of intra-africa trade. He therefore recommends continuous negotiation and dialogue with the Nigerian authorities. ”There is nothing we can do apart from dialogue because I don’t see any force action that can change the status quo and so dialogue is the order.”
“Every country is trying to be protectionist, America is doing it, China is doing it, but the only thing we can do is to dialogue because anybody who believes in belligerent approach to trade matters is not being realistic,” Dr Antwi-Danso advised. Adding to the voice is the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) who wants the government to learn from what Nigeria has done to also restrict the free movement of people and goods.
The Ashanti, Ahafo, Bono East Zonal Vice-Chairman of AGI, Kwasi Nyamekye, has stated that although Nigeria’s decision to close its land borders until January 2020 was unpleasant, the country was doing what all other countries do to protect their local industry.
“Ghana shouldn’t be worried about Nigeria closing its border. We should rather be happy because they want to promote their local industry and we have to take a cue from that. We should close our borders to the import of some goods that we produce in Ghana so we can promote local industry,”
The government of Nigeria last week extended the closure of its land borders till January 31, 2020. A memo signed by Nigeria’s Comptroller, Victor David Dimka, dated November 1, 2019, directed officers at the borders to keep them closed until next year.
Nigeria is known to have closed the borders to curb smuggling of goods into and out of the country. This includes smuggling of rice, second had cars and other goods into the country, while fuel is smuggled out. The border closure, however, has affected many trade deals of its neighbours, including Ghana.
“We want the Ministry of Trade and Industry to use this opportunity to formulate policies to promote products that are produced in Ghana,” said Mr Nyamekye.