Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has said that Nigeria’s border closure is not the reason for the Ghanaian Government attacking shops owned by Nigerian traders in Ghana this year.
She disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Monday.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported in August that Ghana’s Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said that Nigeria’s border closure in 2019 has hurt Ghanaians and nearly bankrupted many Ghanaian export businesses after their goods were stuck in the Seme Border for months. The Minister stated, in a series of tweets reacting to the recent shutdown of Nigerian-owned shops by Ghanaian authorities.
The Ghanaian government announced it imposed the $1million levy on traders in the country, including Nigeria, due to certain steps taken by the Nigerian government to protect the former’s interest.
Nairametrics reported in August that the Speaker of the House of Reps, Femi Gbajabiamila, lamented that the closure of Nigerian shops contravened ECOWAS’ trade protocols and called for a decisive solution between both countries.
While speaking during the interview, Dabiri-Erewa said that Ghana closing Nigerian shops was due to their inability to compete with Nigerians. She added that if the reason for the attack was due to border closure, Nigerian banks operating in Ghana would have been closed too.
“We are talking of people that have been living in your country, working very well for years. Now, I’ll ask you something; if it has to do with the borders, why didn’t they send away the big industries in Ghana; we have six banks in Ghana. Why didn’t they tell them to leave, if they are afraid of border closure? There is the gas pipeline going to Ghana, why don’t you cut it off?
“And I think it boils down to this lack of trust and some kind of complex. Because, these Nigerian traders sell their goods at cheaper prices; you know, Nigerians are very industrious. So the reality is that the Ghanaian traders say it is really difficult to compete with the Nigerian traders. So, let’s leave the issue of border closure.
“This thing has been on for years. In New York, three years ago, Mr. President, took up with the Ghanaian President, and he gave an assurance that they are sorry about it and will open the shops. Then they opened and closed again, to their whims and caprices. I’m sure you will agree with me that we can’t continue like this,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
She revealed that a delegation of Nigerian traders in Ghana has expressed intentions to return to Nigeria and that the FG is working to see what it can do. She added that the shops’ closure was due to political games in Ghana’s election season.
“The delegation is in Nigeria to tell the government that they want to return, and 753 actually signed the document that says they want to return to Nigeria.
“Let’s face it, the President of Ghana will not want to go against his own citizens. And majority of the Ghanaian traders have said ‘we don’t want them’. So after the elections, maybe they will now open. But they will close again. So they can’t be pawns in a game of chess in Ghana,” she said.
ASUU says union has not yet agreed to call off strike
ASUU has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied media reports that the union agreed to call off its 8-month old strike action.
There was a bit of relief when news emerged that the strike action has been called off, after the latest meeting between ASUU top echelons and the Federal Government negotiation team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Friday.
According to a report from Vanguard, the ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said he is not aware of any agreement to call off the strike. However, he noted that it was agreed at the meeting that the union would convey government’s message to their various organs and then report back to the government.
Ogunyemi said, “I am not aware of that. All I know is that we had a meeting and we are going to report to our members. But, I don’t know about suspension of the strike.”
It was also reported that ASUU reached an agreement with the Federal Government after the latter increased its offer for Earned Allowances and funding for the revitalization of public universities from N65 billion to N70 billion.
However, ASUU in a tweet insisted that the funding should be implemented before the union suspends its strike action.
#GoodNews The Academic Staff Union Of Universities ASUU, has accepted a newly pledged amount N70 billion to be released by the FG.
The union however insisted that the funding should be implemented before the strike would be suspended.
— Official_ASUU (@ASUUNGR) November 28, 2020
What you should know
Nairametrics earlier reported that ASUU had called off its 8-month-long strike. It said that the union took the decision after it agreed to accept government’s total payment of N70 billion and that the payment of their outstanding salaries must not be done through the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU embarked on strike in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and implementation of the IPPIS, which according to the union, negates the autonomy policy for the universities.
ASUU, however, has its own developed and preferred payment platform, University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which the government said it is looking into.
Export of our products in West African sub-region now less competitive – MAN
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has lamented the less competitive nature of made-in-Nigeria products.
The export of made-in-Nigeria products in the West African sub-region has become less competitive according to the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed. He made this remark in a statement seen by Nairametrics.
According to Ahmed, MAN members are losing market share daily to other African countries due to the closure of the border, as the sub-region has now become less competitive.
“Major manufacturers of beverages, polypropylene bags, tobacco, cement, toiletries, and cosmetics industries were losing markets they had worked very hard to secure in the West and Central African region.
“These manufacturers were hoping to leverage their market share to secure a strong position in the African Continental Free Trade Area, which kicks off in January 2021.
“Since the closure, the association has conducted a research with its members, the outcome is that some sectors had considerable increase in their productivity, while some sectors recorded sharp decline.”
He emphasized that the export group of the association clearly suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure, as it takes an average of 8 weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of 7 to 10 days.
“The increased traffic through our seaport as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, leading to greater challenges for exporters and increased demurrage cost, as well as other port levies,” he added.
What it means
Nigeria’s President Buhari recently signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement exposing local Nigerian manufacturers to the regional competition.
- Whilst border closures impact positively on local markets due to restrictions on imports, it is unhealthy for local businesses looking to export across borders to regional African countries.
Explore Data on the Nairametrics Research Website
AfCFTA: African Customs Officials to draft free trade continental guidelines
Customs officials from around Africa gave a nod to the adoption of continental guidelines to facilitate the free flow of cross-border trade.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) got closer to actualization on Saturday as Customs officials in the continent agreed to draft continental guidelines to enable the movement of goods, services and people for the agreement.
This was disclosed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa on Saturday evening.
“Liberalization of 90% of tariff lines will affect customs revenues. About 85% of import come from outside Africa, leaving about 15% from the continent, but the agreement is an opportunity for Nigeria to boost exports and production,” the Customs Service disclosed at the AfCFTA Sensitization Seminar.
The joint adoption of a continental customs guidelines comes a few weeks before the AfCFTA kicks off in January 2021.
The meeting organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) virtually was attended by Customs Chiefs in Africa, who agreed to implement measures to facilitate cross-border trading challenges heightened by the covid-19 pandemic.
The Director of Regional Integration and Trade, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Stephen Karingi, disclosed that the guidelines were drafted to boost coordination and implementations of a common customs guideline covering areas including transport and infrastructure and others.
“The aim is to have the continental guidelines in place early next year to reinforce start of trading under the AfCFTA,” he said.
The guidelines cover a number of new sub-sections to respond to specific gaps in existing rules, including the regulation of small-scale cross-border trade and cross-border trade by fishermen, gender considerations, and treatment of essential workers, including transport and humanitarian workers.
“Once in force, the continental guidelines are expected to ensure a harmonized approach to support smooth and safe trade amid the pandemic, including transit trade between RECs,” said Hussein Hassan, AUC’s Acting Director for Trade and Industry.
What you should know
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the biggest free-trade agreements in the world right now with a potential market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion
The Federal Government announced that it has ratified Nigeria’s membership to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ahead of the December 5, 2020 deadline. The agreement goes into effect from the 1st of January 2021.
Nairametrics reported in September that the Nigerian Customs said the facilitation of trade requirements ranging from Pre-Arrival processes to Electronic Payments of duties would be important for the AfCFTA implementation for Nigeria.