The Speaker of Parliament, Right Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has revealed that progress is being made in resolving the concerns of the Nigerian traders in Ghana; from a joint effort between the two countries.
“That is always the way to go if we are interested in the peace and development of our countries. I am confident that the intervention of our two legislatures in this effort will yield results.”
Right Hon Alban Bagbin said this when he gave a historic address to Members of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria last Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Abuja.
The address which was the first of its kind between the two countries was at the invitation of his Nigerian counterpart, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He noted that “Only peace between equals can last.”
In view of this, he appealed to the Government of Nigeria to review the prohibition list banning the importation of specific goods and commodities into the Nigerian market, from countries including Ghana.
This request, he said, was underscored by the resolution as captured in the communique of 31st May 2021.
“I have no doubt, Rt. Hon. Speaker, under your sterling leadership of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an institution of measureless might and majesty, Nigeria can fine tune the prohibition list to align with contemporary international trade practices,” he said.
He also mentioned that the coming into being of the African Continental Free Trade Area shows that these countries are open for business and other equally mutually beneficial investments.
He said, “Indeed, Africa’s prosperity depends largely on intra African trade. Increase in trade volumes is the surest way to deepen regional integration in Africa. The low levels of trade among African countries as compared to trade with other parts of the world constitute one of the defining characteristics of our continued poverty.”
“Data available from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) indicates that in 2019 Africa’s total volume of trade was about US$460billion, however only US$69billion of this huge volume of trade was transacted among African nations. What is even more worrying is that most of these imports traded can be produced and procured in Africa. This unfortunate trend hinders prospects of bringing the needed prosperity to our people. It results in the frailty of our security situation given that the rising youth unemployment on our continent which is the world’s youngest continent, occasioned by this unpleasant development, provides handy tools to those so minded to perpetrate all acts of vandalism, hooliganism and violent extremism.”
Rt.. Hon Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin underscored the need to redefine relations, in terms of their history of cooperation, so as to forge a better future for the citizenry.
He believed that the Communique of 31st May 2021 meeting, suggested addressing some of the “thorny requirements of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865).
He averred that, that would help facilitate regularization of the businesses of the affected Nigerian retail traders in the trade impasse. Commenting on the Nigeria’s prohibition list, Alban Bagbin indicated that they are making progress in resolving the concerns of the Nigerian traders in Ghana and expressed confidence that the intervention of the two legislatures in their effort will yield results.
He announced that the Parliament of Ghana has appointed a seven-member committee as Ghana’s delegation to the Joint Committee of Eminent Persons of the Legislatures which will interact with their Nigerian counterparts towards passing the “Ghana-Nigeria Friendship Act”.
According to him, the “Ghana-Nigeria Friendship Act” will set up the proposed “Ghana-Nigeria Business Council”, which is to provide the legal and institutional framework to sustain the continued friendship and business interests of both countries.
Hon. Bagbin also intimated that Rt. Hon. Gbajabiamila of Nigeria and, and his predecessor, Rt. Hon. Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, have made noble efforts in pursuing Parliamentary Diplomacy towards finding a lasting solution to the trade impasse between some Ghanaian and Nigerian traders in Ghana.
This impasse followed the full implementation of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act, 2013 (Act 865), which occasioned the closure of shops belonging to some foreigners including some of our brothers and sisters from Nigeria.
According to him, the Parliament of Ghana will contribute in every way possible to end the impasse between traders of the two sister countries.