As the Federal Government of Nigeria, in association with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) lifts its ban on certain products from Ghana, as part of a wider global ban, including pharmaceutical, oil palm and associated products, Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) says the move is most welcome.
The AGI president stated the lifting of the ban offers an opportunity to access the Nigerian market again but this time under certain mutually agreed terms.
Nigeria included Ghana in its ‘Import Prohibition list’ as part of measures to protect local industries from competition from abroad, and also to restrict foreign exchange usage and manage the country’s reserves so as to stem the dwindling value of the Naira. Due the large size of its consumer market – Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with an estimated 170 million people -the country had become a prime target for countries outside of ECOWAS to use West African countries, which are supposed to be allowed to export to Nigeria duty free, as staging posts for their exports to that country, by re-labelling them in those countries. However Nigeria, in recognition of its close economic ties with Ghana has lifted its ban on Ghanaian products with a commitment from Ghana’s industry chiefs not to allow Ghanaian firms to be used for such a purpose.
Ghana remains Nigeria’s largest trade partner in the West African sub-region as the country imports the largest share of all Nigerian oil exports while Nigeria accounts for about 10 percent of Ghana’s foreign trade volume.
At the last Annual General Manager of MAN it and the Association of Ghanaian Industries (AGI), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate exchanges and joint actions to enable the operation of manufacturing businesses in both countries signed by Frank Jacobs, outgone MAN president and Dr. Yaw Adu Gyamfi, AGI president.
High excise duties on certain products, inadequate trade facilitation infrastructure,expensive price of natural gas, unfriendly port environment, multiplicity of taxes, exorbitant cost of haulage, congestion at both countries’ seaports, high incidence of smuggling and counterfeiting of locally manufactured products are challenges both countries face.
By Michael Eli Dokosi