The Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) says the Federal Government’s decision to reopen its land borders would help to reduce the harassment of Nigerians by Ghanaian traders, an official of the association has said.
The President of NUTAG, Mr Chukwuemeka Nnaji, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview that reopening the border would ease trade for Nigerian traders in Ghana, as ”we are going to benefit anyways”.
Nnaji said: “Nigeria is the major source of our import from Ghana, therefore opening of the border is a welcome idea, because it is going to help us grow our businesses.
“We really suffered during lockdown, some of our members lost big sums of money and other valuables, as such reopening the border is a good idea and we commend government.
“Re-opening the border will help to an extent in stopping Ghanaian traders from harassing us; in 2019 they harped on closure of border by Nigerian government as reason for the harassment.
”Since the border is opened now, they cannot say it is because the border is closed, because they know that Ghana and Nigeria trade wars did not originate from border closure”, he said.
He disclosed that Ghanaian traders had since 2017 been harassing their Nigerian counterparts, while shops owned by Nigerians were closed in 2019, and that despite negotiations by the governments of the two countries, Ghanaian authorities in December, 2020, locked 40 Nigerian shops, a week prior to their national elections.
Nnaji decried restriction of movement and goods as some of the challenges faced by Nigerian traders, adding that it became impossible to move goods from Nigeria to Ghana, while the prohibitive cost of transporting goods, as a result of the border closure, also added to their woes.
“Before now, you could transport small size of goods that usually cost N100, but the transportation cost covering same distance has increased to N1000.
“Some of us actually stopped applying the route, because there was no movement for a long time and we have not actually been able to import any goods from Nigeria,” he said.
On the issue of evacuation, the NUTAG President said that would considered as the last resort now that the land border had been reopened and having officially complained in November to the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Foreign Affairs, and that of Interior, as well and Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission.
“What we understand from our Federal Government is that evacuation will be the last option and they will never abandon us and we should be patient. This means that they will do everything within their powers to resolve the trade wars, but if things do not improve, evacuation is still an option,” he added.
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