The Republic of Ghana, through its Foreign Minister and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has begged Nigeria to re-open its borders. Ghana said it had been heavily affected by Nigeria’s decision to close its borders.
Botchwey stated that Ghana was determined to make Nigeria rescind its decision by exploiting diplomatic avenues. She was optimistic that Nigeria would re-open its Western borders for free flow of goods from Ghana to the subregion.
She made this plea during a meeting with Nigeria’s High Commission to Ghana, Olufemi Michael Abikoye on Tuesday.
“As we speak, Nigerian goods are entering Ghana without any problem and I think that we should find ways of isolating the issues and the countries that you have problems with so that Ghana’s exports can enter your market without being lumped up with all these issues that have emerged,” she said
Why this matters: Nairametrics gathered that members of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) recorded huge losses owing to the closure of the border.
- Several truckloads of goods were detained at the Seme border between Benin and Nigeria for weeks and returning to use seaports to transport the goods would only complicate the issues.
- Further investigations by Nairametrics disclosed that Nigeria ranked highly as one of the major export destinations for Ghana, in ECOWAS. Also, Nigeria’s decision to close its southern borders is a contravention of the ECOWAS treaty on trade and exports of goods and services, according to President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng.
- If this border closure continues, Ghana can lose its trade market which will affect its role in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
- Besides, border smuggling is one of the ways the Ghana Export Promotion Authority utilizes in boosting Ghana’s exports, particularly non-traditional ones.
The agony of the Benin farmers: Benin Republic is also affected by the border closure. According to farmers, dozens of baskets of tomatoes, pineapple and other fruits and vegetables have gone bad due to the border closure.
Biggest Gainers: The biggest gainer of the border closure is Nigeria. While food prices have gone up, Nigeria may be able to boost local production of food items and manufactured goods.
The Nigeria Customs Service also seems to be enjoying this closure as they described it as the most successful and effective measure so far adopted, in terms of curtailing the influx of smuggled rice and other goods to the country.
The Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali, revealed that the agency’s revenue rose to over N5bn daily, since the closure. He also added that more than 200 illegal immigrants were apprehended across the border and thousands of bags of rice and other contrabands confiscated.
On his part, Nigerian High Commissioner, Olufemi Abikoye promised to sort the situation even though he noted that Ghana wasn’t the reason why the border was closed.
“At the end of it, we’re helping our economies”, he stated.
Backstory: Recall the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of the Nigerian border, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country.
This is coming after the President announced the partial closure of the Nigeria-Benin border on August 20th with the exercise code-named, ‘Ex-Swift Response’. The measure was taken to restrict the massive illegal importation of rice into Nigeria and ensure trans-border security issues.