Business News of Saturday, 21 February 2015
The Ghana Nigerian Business Council has called for enhanced stakeholder interaction and information exchange with a view to strengthening business relations between the two countries.
The Council suggested the formation of a joint task force of private sector and government of both countries for a visit to be arranged in either of the countries to hold frank discussions with a view to promoting better understanding and coming up with practical solutions with which both sides would be comfortable.
The recommendations were contained in a communiqué after “Doing business in Ghana 2” event held on the 29th and 30th of January 2015.
The communiqué also suggested that special efforts be made to strengthen relations between the chamber of commerce of the countries with a view to facilitating the mutual entry and operation of business persons as residents or partners in local companies in one country or the other within the law.
The Council also proposed that the private sector intensify its tourism promotion activities and advocacy vis-à-vis government for making and implementing policies that promote tourism infrastructure development and the tourism industry as a way of deepening regional integration and strengthening relations between the two countries.
It also suggested that the media be given appropriate capacity building training to enable them through the appropriate medium to correct perceptions that undermine business relations between the two countries.
According to the Council, the governments of Ghana and Nigeria should sustain their efforts to continue to reduce processes and procedures of port clearance in order to contribute to the reduction in the cost of doing business to enhance competitiveness of their economies.
It suggested that efforts be made to establish regular marine transportation along the West African coast, particularly the Sealink Project being sponsored by Ecobank and other stakeholders.
The Council urged ECOWAS countries to learn from certain successful export-led countries and make it a policy to promote bilingualism, thus learning of English, French in schools in school to contribute to breaking the language barrier to trade in the sub region.
This, it said, was necessary because monolingualism or dependence on solely French and English language for business communication had been recognized as a trade barrier in ECOWAS.
The Council also stated that among the reasons for proposing these measures are because they observed that although the ECOWAS Common External Tariff had legally come into effect on 1 January 2015, there seemed to be insufficient publicity and public education on it to facilitate its implementation and compliance.
Also, they noticed that a number of Nigerian business operators remain skeptical and expressed reservations on certain provisions of the Ghana Investment Act 478 despite the clear and lucid presentation by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.