Dr Hafiz Bin-Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, has said Ghana lost about $12 million in 2018 to fertilizer smuggling to neighboring countries and called on security agencies to beef up security to prevent smuggling activities.

He said a lot of the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) subsidized fertilizer meant for Ghanaian farmers were smuggled to Burkina Faso and this contributed to the depreciation of the cedi to other major trading currencies across the globe.

Addressing Municipal Security Council (MUSEC) meeting in Tumu, Dr Bin-Salih urged the security agencies in the region to heighten security and impound any truck transporting fertilizer to neighboring Burkina Faso through Sissala East and West Districts.

He said about 1.5 million metric tons of the PFJ fertilizer has been allocated to the Upper West Region in the 2019 cropping season and urged security agencies to protect Ghana borders to Burkina Faso to prevent the smuggling of the commodity.

The Minister said together with the Upper East Regional Minister they have met with the Agriculture Minister to discuss measures to prevent fertilizer smuggling through the two regions to Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo.

Dr Bin-Salih also made an appeal to the Governor of South West Burkina Faso Region, Colonel Tagseba Nitiema, to help curb the smuggling into Burkina Faso when the Burkinabe counterpart paid a courtesy call on him in Wa to deepen the cordial relationships.

The Minister also led a government delegation to Leo, in Burkina Faso last Friday to meet with the Francophone counterparts to plead for their support to curb the smuggling challenge.

Recently nine districts in Northern, North East, Upper East and Upper West Regions were suspended from receiving the PFJ fertilizer due to allegations of smuggling.

And the Upper West Regional Security Council (REGSEC) on May 9, impounded two trucks loaded with 2,000 maxi bags of the PFJ fertilizer in Wa on the suspicion of smuggling and this was distributed to local farmers.

On his part, Governor of South West Burkina Faso, Colonel Tagseba Nitiema, pledged his support to help curb smuggling and called on the Upper West Regional Minister to support him with information to fight terror attacks in Burkina Faso and prevent it from spreading to Ghana.

To further strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two regions of Ghana and Burkina Faso, Colonel Nitiema invited the Upper West Regional Minister to present two football teams to participate in a friendly football match between South West Region of Burkina Faso and the Upper West Region of Ghana.

Source: GNA