19 February 2016

Ghana: More Knocks for Economy As Ghana Bans Imports From Nigeria

Ghana, Nigeria's largest trading partner in West Africa has taken steps to shore up its foreign reserves and strengthen its economy by banning imports from Nigeria and other countries from which it gets a number of goods such as crude oil, cement and pharmaceuticals.

The development could lead to more woes for Nigeria which is reported to be struggling to find buyers for its chief export- crude oil, cocoa, and some other farm produce.

Ghana seems to have taken a cue from Nigeria which used an "Import Prohibition List" to refuse certain goods entry into the country, including many pharmaceutical products through tight restriction of foreign exchange. The West African country is looking to gain some advantage by also prohibiting imports from Nigeria and other countries.

Mr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry, stated Thursday that Ghana and Nigeria's trade account for about 68 per cent of the West African region's GDP, hinting that Nigeria had the advantage in the transactions. Nigeria accounts for almost 10 per cent of Ghana's foreign trade volume, whereas Ghana is listed as the ninth largest trade partner to Nigeria.

Ghana remains Nigeria's largest trade partner and favourite investment hub in the West African sub-region, as Ghana imports the largest share of all Nigerian oil exports in West Africa. While "bagged cement" is on Nigeria's prohibition list, Dangote Cement brings in and bags some 750,000 tonnes of cement a year for the Ghanaian market, and is expected to increase this to 1.5 million tonnes by the end of this quarter.

"If we also make it difficult for them to export, then we would have to find common ground," Kate Quartey-Papafio, CEO of Reroy Cables, said.


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