The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to consider reopening Ghana’s land borders.
Ghana’s land, sea and air borders were closed in March 2020 to stop the importation of the Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).
Although the air borders have been opened, the land and sea borders are yet to opened.
Mr. Ayariga insists the economies of the land borders are suffering and for that matter, the President should come to their aid.
According to him, he finds it “very discriminatory” that those who can afford flights are allowed into the country while those who can’t afford such means are left to their fate.
He thus urged President Akufo-Addo to reopen the land borders and put in stringent measures in place to check persons who come in and out of the country.
“2020 was largely informed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is not yet really over and the vaccines have been developed, but I don’t know how soon Africa will be able to acquire and extensively vaccinate its population so that we can really say that we are safe and to the extent that our economies are also largely tied to the economies of these western countries and many of them are increasingly closing their economies because of the pandemic. This means that we are also going to struggle because they are consuming from our economies, and we are also bringing a lot from their economies, and then we depend to some extent also on tourism and COVID-19 is making tourism a major problem.”
“We are opening up our economy including schools and the rest but I just also thought that we should consider opening land borders especially for somebody like me whose constituency is a border constituency, I find it ridiculous that we are keeping our land borders closed. The same arrangements that we have at the air borders, we can do same for the land borders with proper mechanism because the economies of these border towns are suffering. So I would strongly suggest that the president should reopen the land borders and rather focus on putting mechanisms for checking people going out. I find it very discriminatory those who can afford to use flight can come into Ghana but those who cannot afford to use flights cannot come in.”
Mr. Ayariga made this call on Citi TV‘s weekend current affairs show, The Big Issue on Saturday, January 9, 2021.
Government yet to decide on when to reopen land, sea borders
A former Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had earlier indicated that an assessment is ongoing to find out if it will be possible to make COVID-19 screening available across all the borders.
According to him, the outcome of the assessment would determine how soon President Akufo-Addo will allow the reopening of Ghana’s land borders.
“There is an assessment ongoing on what it takes to ensure that there is adequate and reliable screening across all our borders and when the President is satisfied that the assessments pass the test, we will proceed to open our land borders.”
He noted that though some decisions taken by the government may be inconvenient, they have had to make them in the interest of Ghanaians.
“All the measures at easing restrictions are only done after we are sure that the risk of importation of spread can be contained. It is in that same spirit that this assessment is continuously ongoing. We acknowledge all the difficulties and discomforts we all of us have to go through as we fight COVID-19, but it is important that we protect ourselves.”