june 30, 2005/Source Ghanian Chronicle (Accra)
Nigerian authorities have placed a ban, in contravention of ECOWAS and World Trade Organization rules and regulations, on certain items, especially from Ghana.
The Nigerian authorities, early this year, placed a ban on the importation of certain products into the country as part of measures to stop the importation of cheap items and ultimately to diversify the Nigerian economy.
The banned items include rice, poultry, textiles and a host of other products except salt which they need for their petroleum industry.
Ghana was deeply disturbed about Nigeria\'s decision and expressed the hope that there was the possibility of an amicable solution to the matter.
If the West African nation with the largest population can\'t compete economically with smaller countries like Ghana, then my recommendation is that it abandons the policy of ECOWAS.
Ghana\'s market however is open to all sorts of imports from Nigeria and Nigerians have taken over even the retail sections of the Ghanaian market although according to the Ghana Investment Code, they are not supposed to enter until they had invested $10,000 and registered with the Ghana Investment Promotion Council(GIPC).
Under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Treaty, member countries are free to export and import items into each other\'s country devoid of quotas or any forms of restriction.
Meanwhile, Ghana is putting together a position paper on Nigeria\'s decision to ban certain items and products from entering its market. She must point out to Nigeria that it is unfair trade to place a ban on Ghanaian exports and against the spirit of the ECOWAS treaty.
Ghana will table the paper at the forthcoming review meeting of the Head of States on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss Ghana and Rwanda\'s Programme of Action on the draft of their country papers on the APRM. The Ministry of Regional Integration and NEPAD was working in consultation with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to fashion out a strategy to address the situation.
Meanwhile, it has been 14 years since the original deadline of 1990 for completing the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, a key part of the planned Customs Union uniting the 15-Member States.
But now, there is new hope for success. A Common External Tariff implies that all goods entering the customs territory of any ECOWAS country would be assessed at the same rate of customs duty.