Friday, February 19, 2016 11:51 pm
By Funsho Balogun
While Nigeria continues to grapple with the effects of the fast-dwindling value of the Naira, the country’s economic woes may be heightened if the indigenous Ghanaian industrialists succeed in their present push for the Ghanaian government to place a ban on some items brought into the country from Nigeria.
If a nod is given by the Ghanaian government, the prohibition of these goods would affect Nigeria’s already troubled economy which had hitherto enjoyed robust foreign trade with Ghana. Nigeria accounts for about 10 per cent of Ghana’s foreign trade volume while Ghana is Nigeria’s 9th largest trading partner, importing the largest share of all the country’s oil exports in the West African sub-region.
If Ghana eventually takes the step according to the wish of the indigenous manufacturers, it would be a move akin to Nigeria’s policy of restricting 41 items from access to foreign exchange which has attracted a fair measure of controversy.
According to Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, the two countries, Nigeria and Ghana, account for 68 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP of the ECOWAS region.
The Ghanaian industrialists calling for the ban on Nigerian exports are said to be acting based on bottled up disgruntlement concerning the easy passage of food and sundry export commodities from Nigeria into Ghana, with the Ghanaians claiming there is no reciprocal arrangement to help their indigenous industries by giving them an equally easy access into the Nigerian market.
‘’Bagged cement is on Nigeria’s prohibition list but Dangote Cement exports and bags about 750,000 tonnes of cement a year for the Ghanaian market, and this is expected to increase to 1.5 million tonnes by the end of this quarter,’’ a Ghanaian industrialist said.
‘’But for those who are able to export to Nigeria, they must obtain different certificates for different customers, which takes a long process and time, making the whole thing cumbersome,’’ he further noted. And according to Kate Quartey-Papafio, CEO of Reroy Cables, Ghana, Nigeria’s ‘’Import Prohibition List’’ has served to block the entry of some goods, especially pharmaceutical products, into the Nigerian market.
Richard Okrah, another player in the Ghanaian pharmaceutical industry, who is the Managing Director of Intravenous Infusions Limited is also miffed about his inability to partake in the vast Nigerian market which could have increased his sales by at least 25 per. He has been blocked by restrictions placed by Nigerian authorities to protect indigenous manufacturers. Meanwhile, he claims that his goods find an easy passage into Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and other countries.