From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
High Commissioner of the Republic of Ghana to Nigeria, Rashid Bawa, has said the amicable resolution of the crisis between Ghanaian and Nigerian retail traders in his country was underway.
Bawa fielded questions from Daily Sun following the 2022 Ghana-Nigeria Business Council Chief Executive Officers’ Forum, last week, in Abuja.
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The former Ghanaian Minister of Sports explained that the huge investments by Nigerian companies and individuals in the various sectors of the Ghanaian economy seem to be overshadowed by the perennial tension between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders in Ghana, which forms an insignificant portion of business between the two countries.
Bawa, a former Ghanaian Ambassador to the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, disclosed that the ministers of trade of Ghana and Nigeria signed an agreement in 2021 establishing a framework to guide the engagement between the countries in resolving issues between Ghanaian retail traders and their counterparts from Nigeria.
Bawa said: “I can assure you that the government of the Republic of Ghana is committed to the timely implementation of the framework of engagement between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.”
How would you describe your first tour of duty in Nigeria?
As the High Commissioner in Nigeria, we had some tremendous achievements. We increased the number of Ghanaian companies investing here and some Nigerian companies investing in Ghana on the economic front.
I think, with our support, the Ghanaian commercial presence here has increased. That’s a good thing.
We also had some fruitful cooperation on health issues. Sometimes, we are judged by what doesn’t happen. We were very effective in working together to prevent Ebola from breaking out across the subregion. I think it was a very effective collaboration. That’s the approach I tried to take – collaboration, cooperation – two great democracies working together to make the world a better place.
What would you attribute to your second posting to Nigeria?
The excellent bilateral political relations that have existed between Ghana and Nigeria, and note that this has underpinned the strong trade and economic ties between the two countries. The entrenched and longstanding bonds of friendship, and the people-to-people engagements have solidified the bilateral ties between Ghana and Nigeria, necessitating more vital collaboration, cooperation and partnership between the political establishments of the two countries for the enhancement of the bilateral relations. This, I will continue to solidify.
I wish to express my government’s avowed aim to cooperate, collaborate and work closely with Nigeria towards sustainable development for the benefit of both countries. Furthermore, I wish to reaffirm my commitment to strengthening relations between the two countries for mutual benefit and prosperity.
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Ghana enjoys warm relations with Nigeria despite a few setbacks witnessed in recent times. What is the level of economic, political and security consultations between both countries?
Let me emphasise that the two countries’ economic and diplomatic relations have been excellent and thriving. This development has positioned Ghana and Nigeria as the two dominant economies in the West African sub-region. The ties that bind us also mean that we have become interdependent on each other. As a result, developments in Nigeria tend to have a ripple effect on Ghana and vice versa.
What is the volume of trade between Ghana and Nigeria? Is it in favour of Ghana or Nigeria?
The latest foreign trade report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Ghana emerged Nigeria’s biggest export destination for 2019.
The report revealed that Ghana topped Nigeria’s export destinations in the third quarter of 2019, as Ghana imported N908.5 billion worth of cable sheaths of iron, submersible drilling platforms and crude oil.
According to the report, Ghana imported N876.5 billion non-crude oil products from Nigeria, while crude oil exports only stood at N32.02 billion in Q3 2019. Ghana imported 17.18 per cent of Nigeria’s total export in three months. The balance of trade between the two countries is in favour of Nigeria, with more exports volume than Ghana.
Friction between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders has strained relations between the countries. Why is the issue difficult to resolve?
Nigerian companies and individuals have invested greatly in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy. However, these huge investments seem to be overshadowed by the perennial tension between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders in Ghana, which forms a very insignificant portion of business between our two countries. I am happy to note that the governments of the two countries continue to engage in finding an amicable settlement to the issue. Indeed the honorable ministers of trade of Ghana and Nigeria, last year, signed a joint agreement that establishes a framework to guide the engagement between the two countries in resolving the issues between Ghanaian retail traders and their counterparts from Nigeria. I can assure you that the government of the Republic of Ghana is committed to the timely implementation of the framework of engagement between Ghanaian and Nigerian traders.
Democracy in Africa: Are we truly practicing democracy as espoused by the founding fathers?
Ghana is a well-administered country and is on record for its good governance and respect for human rights, which are key pillars of democracy.
This makes it a model for political, and, to a great extent, economic reform – not just in West Africa, but across the African continent at large. Besides being the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence from a colonial power, the country has become a torch-bearer in consolidating democracy and good governance, following years of political upheavals. As a result, it is now ranked highly in Africa based on most of the fundamental measures of democracy and good governance.