A 2-day sub-regional stakeholder workshop on Small Scale Cross Border Trade for Ghana, Nigeria, La Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin has been held in Accra bringing together inter-governmental, public-sector organizations such as customs and immigrations whose actions impede or enhance the flow of trade.
The program was organised by the POS Foundation with support from the Ghana International Trade Commission and German international organisation, GIZ.
A week ago, a similar workshop was held with private sector participation who deliberated on the impediments inherent within cross-border trade as well as make proposals.
Executive Director of the POS Foundation, Jonathan Osei Owusu said a harmonized cross border trade system will lead to the economic emancipation of Africa.
The Head of Trade Facilitation and Import Management at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Kyeremeh Yeboah, elaborated further on some of the challenges facing cross-border trade.
Mr. Yeboah who is also the ECOWAS Chairman for Trade Facilitation Committee said, “if you take the Abidjan-Lagos corridor which is 1028 km by road, transporters do it in three weeks, when they could do it in three days, if trade was facilitated, and movements were not impeded.”
An Assistant Commissioner in charge of Preventive at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, George Tettey underscored the need to balance trade facilitation with security.
He said, “as we facilitate the trade, we are mindful of the responsibility to protect our borders against illegal trade and terrorist attacks on states.”
The Deputy Superintendent of Immigration, Nigeria, Sheyindemi Adewunmi, emphasized that small scale cross border trade should be conducted in cognisance of the rule of law.