Withdrawal of 3 countries from ECOWAS: GUTA wants govt’s action to mitigate impact
Joseph Obeng — President of GUTA

Withdrawal of 3 countries from ECOWAS: GUTA wants govt’s action to mitigate impact

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has urged the government to take steps to limit the effect of the withdrawal of the three Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members from the bloc on the country’s imports.

The military leaders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, announced last a couple of weeks ago that they are immediately leaving the ECOWAS regional economic bloc that has been urging them to return to democratic rule.

The decision by the three, announced in a joint statement on their national television channels, is a blow to the bloc's regional integration efforts after it suspended the three following coups.

The move could further weaken ECOWAS which has struggled to contain a democratic retreat in the West Africa region.

The association feared that the withdrawal is likely to have a significant impact on the prices of goods and services adding that most Ghanaian businesses import from these three countries.

Border challenges

It contended that the development may also create unnecessary control measures at the borders, which will hinder the free movement of people, goods and services within the sub region.

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The association said it imports large volumes of onions, tomatoes, cola nuts and salt from the three countries and also engage in cross-border trade.

“Their withdrawal from ECOWAS will impact negatively on cross border trading activities, especially with Ghana where we are very much related and intertwine in terms of our economy, history, culture and trade.

This will adversely affect regional economic stability,” the president of GUTA, Joseph Obeng, told the Graphic Business in an interview.

Mr Obeng told the Graphic Business that the government has taken the step of engaging these three countries in bilateral meetings to ensure Ghanaian businesses are not affected.

“We also know that member states have their own bilateral relations with each other. Therefore, as a country, the first step or strategy to use is for Ghana to bypass ECOWAS and use the already existing good relationship with the three countries and find immediate solution to restore trust and confidence as a catalyst to unify all member states,” Mr Obeng noted.

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