As a result of the closure of the Nigerian border with Benin countries like Ghana which trade with Nigerians through road transport is having serious difficulty. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the partial closing of its border with Benin in August to curb the smuggling of rice and other commodities into West Africa’s largest economy. Some of the people of Benin produce local rice and brand it with the foreign brands’ package to look as if its foreign rice with exorbitant prices coupled with other contraband goods. After they export them to Nigeria and sell them at exorbitant prices.
Chief Executive Officer of Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Mark Badu Aboagye categorically says some of its members which trade with Nigeria are experiencing a decline in revenue and even seeing huge losses and so it is worrying. “It will impact negatively. You know we issue a certificate of origin to exporters even within the ECOWAS and some have been complaining about the fact that they have not been able to send their goods to Nigeria through that border. So, once they are not able to do that it means they can’t also sell their goods and those who also want to bring their goods to Ghana through that border can also not do that,” he also said.
The Foreign Affairs minister, Ms. Ayorkor Botchwey led a delegation and had a meeting last Tuesday with Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana, Olufemi Abikoye on the closure of the Nigerian border and its negative impacts on the Ghanaian traders. The Foreign Affairs Minister highlighted the need for Nigerian to look for the solution to solving the issues with Benin rather than the closure of its border and how Ghana is not part of the problem but have been negatively affected by it and this Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana admitted.
According to Mr. Abikoye, “With just one month of this partial temporarily closure of the border, the task force was able to seize over 1,00 smuggled cars, over 5,000 jerry can of petroleum products, over 20,000 bags foreign rice, thousands of ammunition which were being smuggled into Nigeria,” he stated. It has been the intensive and radical approach of the government of Nigeria to close its border until 2020 to ameliorate this negative trend even though it goes against the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) treaty of commercial freedom of goods and services among member states. Nigerian government seeks to justify its decision of closure of the border to check smuggling. Mr. Abikoye advises that Ghana uses an alternative transport system like the Port for trading in the meantime whiles deliberations are on-going to solve the situations at hand.