Ghanaian Minister for Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has expressed his commitment to strengthening the relationship between Ghana and Nigeria to tap into the latter’s rich experience in the petroleum sector for the mutual benefit of the two countries. Prempeh made the declaration during a visit to Abuja where he met with his Nigerian counterpart.
The two ministers centered their discussions on leveraging the experience of Nigeria, which has decades of discovery know-how. The minister, who is also the chairman of the Committee of Energy Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said there was the need for collaborative efforts and drawing of useful lessons Nigeria has accumulated over the years. With Ghana recently joining the comity of oil producing nations, he said: “There is the need to take lessons from Nigeria and learn from all the mistakes they made regarding the signing of petroleum agreements and maximising their quota of local content and local participation, something Ghana is still getting a grasp on.”
He said it was heartwarming that he and his Nigerian counterpart deliberated their positions on the global conversations around energy transition and what the implications were for developing countries such as Ghana and Nigeria. Prempeh said whilst it is important to recognise the need to gravitate towards clean energy, “African countries must make this move organically, in order to use available fossil fuels to power the industrialisation agenda across the continent.” The minister and the Nigerian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, also discussed the need for the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) to protect the interest of petroleum resource rich nations.
“We both shared our commitment to support the APPO, which are championing the cause for Africa to be dealt with fairly when it comes to decisions such as prices and importation of petroleum products,” he said. Going forward Prempeh said he is looking forward to hosting his counterpart in Ghana to continue the discussions. On his part, Sylva commended the Prempeh for the move and called for more collaboration. Ghana and Nigeria, over the years, have collaborated in many areas, especially gas and power supply. Recall that one of the foreign trade reports released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had showed that Ghana emerged Nigeria’s biggest export destination for the first time in 2019. The report revealed that Ghana topped Nigeria’s export destinations in the third quarter of 2019, as the country imported N908.5 billion worth of cable sheaths of iron, submersible drilling platforms and crude oil. During the period, Nigeria’s top 10 trade partners were Ghana, India, Netherlands, Spain, United States, France, South Africa, Italy, China and Canada. Before then, India had remained Nigeria’s biggest export destination after it eclipsed the United States from the position. According to NBS, Ghana imported N876.5 billion noncrude oil products from Nigeria, while crude oil export stood at N32.02 billion in Q3’19 only.
By this, Ghana imported 17.18 per cent of Nigeria’s total export in three months. India came second with a total of N775.6 billion to import Nigeria’s goods. It imported N694.8 billion crude oil from Nigeria and N80.8 billion non-crude oil. When Nigeria closed its land borders for a year, neighbouring countries pleaded with the Federal Government to open the borders due to damage it brought to the economy. Specifically, a former President of Ghana, John Mahama, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to open Nigeria’s borders, saying that Ghana had been heavily affected by the closure of the borders. “I am sure that businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering. With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume,” Mahama had said.