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ECOWAS initiates negotiation with Nigeria over ban on Ghana

Posted by GhanaWeb on 2005/09/16 | Views: 389 |

ECOWAS initiates negotiation with Nigeria over ban on Ghana


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is negotiating with Nigeria for a review of the ban on the importation of Ghanaian goods into that country. The negotiation is at the instance of the Ghana government.

Accra (Gh) 14 September 2005 - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is negotiating with Nigeria for a review of the ban on the importation of Ghanaian goods into that country. The negotiation is at the instance of the Ghana government.

The Minister of Private Sector Development, and President's Special Initiatives (PSIs)Mr Kwamena Bartels, who made this known yesterday said, "The ban may be lifted in the next three months since the government is receiving positive responses from Nigeria."

He was speaking in Accra at the launch of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2005 Report on Economic Development in Africa.

The report,titled "Economic Development in Africa: Rethinking the Role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)", suggests that a focus on attracting FDI may be a poor guide to development policy and in some circumstances may distort long-term growth
potential.


Mr Bartels indicated that Nigeria,which had a big market with a population of about 120 million, could close its market without serious repercussions.

However,he said,Ghana could not do the same because of its small market size, with a population of about 20 million, and its poor economic standing.

For instance, the minister said,the government could not subsidise the poultry industry in the country,hence the inability of Ghanaian poultry farmers to compete with the highly subsidised exotic poultry and poultry products from abroad in terms of cost.

According to him,many Ghanaians could now afford exotic poultry products,since
their prices were moderate.
Mr Bartels explained that Ghanaians alone could not consume locally-manufactured products because of the small size of the country's market.

Therefore, he said,"It is in the interest of Ghana to encourage openness of the market."
Touching on the report,the minister said for too long the international
community,particularly the lending institutions,had adopted a one-size-fits-all policy
for Africa.

"Country specific factors have been downplayed and the potential benefits of reforms have been touted without a thorough assessment of the attendant costs," he said.

According to him,there was little evidence to suggest that market reforms generated the desired resources in Africa, saying,"For us in Ghana,market reforms have not put money into our pockets."

Mr Bartels said FDI responded to,rather than created, wealth in host
countries.He,therefore,agreed with the recommendations of the report,which called for policy discussions on FDI to be moved away from an obsession with openness and market reforms towards a more pragmatic and strategic perspective on how FDI could fit into Africa's development agenda.

The minister said the PSIs in Ghana were a laudable example of that broadening of policy direction and exemplified the partnership between the state and the private sector in development.

He,therefore,urged the country's development partners to support the government to implement the PSIs, instead of dismissing them as "government interventions" that would not work.

The Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Committee on Trade and Industry,Mr Dan
Abodakpi,said the decision by the government to negotiate with Nigeria for the lifting of the ban was in the right direction.

He stressed the need for the government to engage Nigeria to find a common strategy to bargain well with the European Union(EU) on good trade policies.

Mr Abodakpi,who is also the Member of Parliament for Keta, said the agreement with the EU should counter economic partnership agreement's conditionalities which
called for 100 per cent access to the African market.


The Senior Economic Affairs Officer at the office of the Special Co-ordinator for Africa,UNCTAD,Dr Samuel Kwame Gayi, who presented the report,cautioned that
recent surges of FDI into some countries,principally in the extractive sectors,should not be taken to suggest that opening Africa up to international business could bring about a rapid region-wide economic renaissance.

He said the likelihood of FDI becoming part of a self-sustaining investment process "depends on establishing complementary interactions with private and public sector domestic investment".


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