The Federal Government has inaugurated an inter-Ministerial Committee for the implementation of the signed joint statement between Nigeria and Ghana.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, inaugurated the Committee on behalf of the Federal Government.
The joint statement and the inter-ministerial committee were the outcome of a high level bilateral meeting between the Nigeria delegation led by the minister and representatives of Ghanaian government led by his Ghaniaian Minister of trade held between May 31 and June 2, this year.
Inaugurating the committee headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, the Minister noted, “President Muhammadu Buhari, had approved the constitution of a delegation to Ghana in order to engage and effectively find a lasting solution to the recurring dispute between Nigerian Traders and their Ghanaian counterparts through a bilateral engagement.
The lingering dispute between the two countries, which worsened with the eviction of Nigerian traders in 2007 and the closing of over 300 Nigerian traders’ shops in 2018 was as a result of a renewed trade nationalism by the Ghanaian traders who felt edged out by foreigners in retail businesses.
“You may recall that in 2018, the problem was aggravated by the country’s efforts to enforce the GIPC Trade Act which requires non- Ghanaian traders to have an investment portfolio of One Million USD ($1 Million) to engage in any retail business in Ghana.
“During the visit, the Nigerian delegation held consultations with all the stakeholders from Nigeria in Ghana including professional groups and traders.
“The general concern especially from the traders was that the Ghanaian authorities have adopted discriminatory practices against Nigerians and other foreigners.
” The bilateral consultation between the two countries resulted in signing the Joint Statement that seeks to address the challenges.”
He said the President approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to handle the implementation of the outcome of the Joint Statement, formalise Trade and Investment relations and address other critical issues between the two countries.
According to Adebayo, “Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment will chair the Nigeria-Ghana Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Nigerian side while the Trade Department will serve as the Secretariat while membership is from representatives of the following Ministries, Department and Agencies: Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Nigeria Customs Service (NCS); Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON); Federal Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Finance; National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC); Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCo); National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) and Progressive Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAN).”
He urged members of the committee to handle the assignment with the importance it requires in order to find lasting solutions to the lingering problems.