Rice Import Ban Angers Ivory Coast

Haruna Iddrisu, Trade Minister

Haruna Iddrisu, Trade Minister

Haruna Iddrisu, Trade Minister
The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA), an anti-corruption organization, says there is an ongoing trade conflict between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

According to the Bureau, the conflict arose as a result of the ban on inland rice importation by Ghana’s Trade Ministry since last year.

In line with this, the Ivorian government has placed a ban on the importation of cashew from Ghana by road.

Ghana’s Trade Ministry on October 14, 2013 ban the inland importation of rice.

The policy, according to the Trade Ministry, was ‘intended to provide a framework of administrative procedures through which the numerous unfair trade practices including evasion of import duties and other taxes, under-invoicing, infringement of trademarks and smuggling shall be controlled.’

The ban was subsequently lifted by the Trade Ministry in January.

However, BIA claims it is still subtly being applied by Ghana.

Cynthia Essandoh, BIA Coordinator, in a statement, said that it appears Ghana’s Ministry of Trade did not carry out proper consultation with its stakeholders before placing a ban on inland rice importation.

Essandoh said BIA’s investigation revealed that the inland ban of cashew importation and the initial restriction of cargo trucks by Ivory Coast authorities from entering their country from Ghana were fuelled by Ghana’s Trade Ministry’s implicit ban on inland rice importation.

She advocated the total abolition of the ban by the Trade Ministry to enhance relations between the two countries.

Essandoh said the bureau fears the possibility of other neighbouring French-speaking countries adopting Ivory Coast’s stance, which could worsen the plight of traders in the country.

She said the action of the Trade Ministry was denting the image of the Ghana government and therefore called on the Ministry to revise the policy.

Essandoh said, ‘If measures are not taken quickly to reverse it, it would collapse the business of traders.’

She called on President John Mahama, who is also the Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to intervene in the matter to defuse tension between the two countries.

By Cephas Larbi
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