Ghana affirms commitment to ECOWAS protocol

By Kodjo
Adams, GNA       

Accra, May 10, GNA – Mrs Shirley Ayorkor
Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on Thursday,
re-affirmed the country’s commitment to the implementation of all ECOWAS
protocols especially with free movement of persons.

The other protocols includes the right of
residence and the right of the establishment of goods and services, stressing
that, trade was the pillar on which regional integration rested, and offered
immense potential to promote sustainable development within sub-region.

“Trade between African countries creates the
much needed employment to our teeming youth of the continent who are faced with
severe unemployment challenges,” she added.

Mrs Botchwey said this in Accra at the
Ghana-Nigeria Trade Investment conference on the theme: “Harnessing the
Business Opportunities in Ghana and Nigeria to Accelerate Inclusive Economic
Growth and Development”.

She said the private sector was a catalyst for
the development agenda for Ghana and Nigeria, adding that, existing cooperation
between the two countries would help accelerate inclusive economic growth.

Mrs Botchwey posited that a peaceful political
climate and favourable legal framework contributed significantly in trade and
investment opportunities for both countries.

She stressed that the two countries would
continue to strengthen ties for mutual benefits and economic development.

“Government will continue to champion the
cause of private sector as engine for growth in an enabling business
environment is critical for private business competitiveness and sustainable
development,” she added.

She said government was committed in creating
and ensuring macroeconomic stability as demonstrated in the 2017 budget where
incentives were granted to businesses in a form of tax relief, reduction in
import duties for selected products were implemented.

She said the two countries had the biggest
economy in the sub region, but trade investment between them were not
impressive, and urged authorities to work assiduously to address the gap.

She said the signing of the Continental Free
Trade Area agreement would boost economic growth across the continent.

She noted that already, the protocol of free
movement of goods and services through the Regional Economic Communities, the
East African Economic Community and the South African Development Community was
working perfectly as well.

“The Free Trade Agreement when implemented
will reduce the continent’s vulnerability to external shocks and expected to
enhance the participation of Africa in global trade as a respectable partner,”
the Foreign Minister said.

Mrs Botchwey said government was aware of the
concerns of some Nigerian business community with regards to the investment and
immigration laws, and assured them that, authorities were making efforts to
have the issues resolved through the appropriate institutions and channels.

“Ghana is open for business. We want to engage
Nigeria more in trade and investment, to help us create wealth and keep our
citizens gainfully employed while harnessing the natural and human resources
for our mutual benefits,” she noted.

Mr Olufemi Michael Abikoye, the Nigeria High
Commissioner to Ghana said Ghana and Nigeria economic indices had showed great
prospects, and added that more emphasis must be placed on supporting the
private sector to stir development.

He said their outfit had launched the Nigeria
Economic Initiative to create the enabling environment for businesses across
the region to thrive.

He urged African leaders to put into action
their policies for results, and called for integrated business relationship
between the two countries for trade and investment.

GNA

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