14 February 2013

Ghana: FG Promises to Address Challenges Facing Nigeria-Ghana Trade Relations

The Federal Government has pledged to address challenges arising from trade activities between Nigeria and Ghana.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Olugbenga Ashiru, made the pledge in Abuja on Thursday.

Ashiru refuted allegations that fresh disputes had emerged between both countries.

" There is no dispute; it was resolved and Ghana has suspended that action because we told them that it was not in conformity with the protocol that encourages free trading among ECOWAS countries.

"We will take it up with them again if such disputes are coming up and remind them that it is against the ECOWAS Principle on Free Trade."

The Ghanaian Government, in August 2012, rescinded its policy, compelling Nigerian businessmen and traders to pay a minimum of 300,000 dollars or have their businesses closed.

The policy also compelled Nigerian businessmen and traders to employ at least five Ghanaians as condition to operate offices and shops in the West African country.

The Nigerian Government, however, waded in to stop the discriminatory trade laws.

On foreign direct investment, Ashiru said that Nigeria was making progress.

"Last year alone, according to the UN Report, inflow of investments was in the region of nine billion dollars.

"We have seen it coming in from the U.S. and Germany, especially into the key sectors like power and agriculture.

"General Electric is set to establish a factory in Nigeria. Siemens is also coming to manufacture gas turbines to generate electricity.

"These target not just the Nigerian market but African markets, creating jobs for our people," he said.

Commenting on Rwanda's visa policy review, Ashiru said Nigeria would work towards reviewing its visa policy in line with bilateral relations both countries shared.

"The Federal Government has introduced a policy whereby if you are a businessman invited by an established company in Nigeria, a form will be filled and requisite fees paid in that country.

"Visa will be given on arrival of such person to Nigeria. But we have not got to that stage yet where we would give visas, generally, on entry; we will reach that soon enough."

The Rwandan Government in January, said that from Jan. 31, visas would be issued to nationals of African countries with valid passports upon entry to the country.

It said this was aimed at facilitating integration of the continent.

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