Ghanaian delegation meets Nigerian Authorities over borders closure
A Ghanaian delegation led by Mr Charles Owiredu, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has presented copies of the documents containing particulars of Ghanaian drivers and traders stranded at the Seme-Krake border to the Nigerian Authorities on Thursday October 31.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, which was copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said the presentation of the documents was at the request of the Nigerian officials at the first Abuja meeting on the borders closure.
It said the delegation which included; Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Seidu Yakubu, a Deputy Commmissioner of Customs, and senior officers from Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration held meetings with Colonel Hameed Abdulai Ali, the Comptroller General of Customs Services, Nigeria, on the need to re-open the Nigerian borders.
It noted that the delegation also held discussions with Hajia Yalwaji Katagum, the Nigerian Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Investment, and Mr Zubairu Dada, the Nigerian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The statement said the first meeting which took place at the office of the Comptroller General Col, Hameed Ibrahim Ali in Abuja ended on a positive note.
It said the Abuja discussions centred on the need for Nigerian authorities to implement its part of the agreement reached a couple of weeks ago saying if Ghana submitted information about companies and drivers stuck at the Seme-Krake border, they would create a safe passage for them to enter Nigeria with their goods.
It said the agreement was reached when Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Mr Alan Kyeremanten, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry, met their Nigerian counterparts on October 16.
It recounted that at the said meeting, which also took place in Abuja, the Nigerian authorities explained that the aim of the border closure was to prevent the entry of contraband goods from Benin including; rice and Ghana was not the target.
It said during the latest meeting,Colonel Ibrahim Ali explained that the situation that gave rise to the closure of the borders mainly arose out of the fragrant disregard of the Protocol on ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and acts that undermined the security of Nigeria by the Republic of Benin.
The statement said after extensive discussions on expeditious action to lessen the continued negative impact of the border closure on Ghana, the two customs entities agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
It said the MoU would include; the exchange of Manifest of goods emanating from both countries and pre-shipment arrangements.
The statement said it was agreed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration would kick-start the process by requesting the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to submit the draft MoU on the said customs cooperation for the consideration of the Nigerian authorities.
It said during the separate meetings with the State Ministers, it was agreed that the list of 51 trucks still at the Seme border should also be submitted to the Nigerian authorities by the Acting Head of Mission of the Ghana High Commission.
It recalled that the delegation had a day earlier met Ghanaian stranded drivers at the Seme-Krake Border of Nigeria and Benin.
It said the borders were closed on August 21.