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Border Closure: Ghana begs Nigeria to open its borders

The Republic of Ghana has begged Nigeria to re-open its borders through its Foreign Minister and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.

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Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana

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.

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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

[READ ALSO: Border closure affecting revenue and Nigeria is not food sufficient – So Fresh co-founder, Olagoke Balogun]

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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.

seme border

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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.

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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.

[READ ALSO: Border closure: Manufacturers lament losses incurred daily]

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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.

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Patricia

Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Vince

    October 16, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I am presently residing in New York City and I’ve been following the trends and happenings around the Nigerian border.
    It is interesting to note that our neighbors are feeling the effects of the border closure and yet they call Nigerians names including fraudsters.
    If the customs and other security apparel can implement fully the border closure, it will better the Nigerian economy.
    This is a welcome development

    • Anonymous

      November 2, 2019 at 11:23 am

      Exactly my thoughts too my bro. You said it all!

  2. Olushola

    October 22, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    It is not an easy decision.
    This is the best thing this govt has done in the 4 and half years of its existence.
    I hope will can close those borders for at least 3years more and see the impact on our economy and foreign reserves. ECOWAS can keep shouting for all I care. Nigeria first, ECOWAS is second for us now.
    I hope the politicians will have the gut to stay put on this decision.

  3. Phillips Yabiteigha

    October 24, 2019 at 6:02 am

    I did not know that we are this important to our west African neighbours until this border closure,our neighbours have never treated us well,you need to travel through the republic of Benin down to Accra and see how Nigerians are embarrassed, I think this is pay back time, let them know our importance,

  4. Haliman Adeyinka

    November 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    The policy is very good but the problem with majority of Nigerians is that it hard for them to endeour for things to take shape. Because prices of those items like bag of rice, basket of tomatoes skin -leader which are producing in Nigeria are too exorbitant compared to what it use to be.

  5. Sonny Paul Imolode

    November 3, 2019 at 5:01 am

    Simply put, this is the best economic decision ever taken by any government in Nigeria. Definitely, if sustained, we shall, in no distant time, witness a geometric boost in our economy and job creation. Nigeria cannot continue to be a dumping ground and suffer in the midst of plenty. For Nigeria to grow economically, this bother closure must remain permanent.

  6. Hudson Monday Ejise

    November 4, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    One of the best economic policies ever introduced by this administration. I love and welcome it wholeheartedly

  7. Obinna

    November 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

    This is the only good thing this administration has ever done since 2015.

  8. Oyelakin Abdulwasiu Oyesina.

    November 11, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    By the closure of these borders, Nigeria, the sleeping giant of Africa is gradually waking up from slumber. We can only feel the heat for a while. At the end of the day, we will gain a lot. This is the best step ever to be taken by any government in Nigeria so far. We should keep it up.

  9. Joe

    November 18, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    absolutely i cannot agree more with the writers, If Neighboring countries failed to obey the protocol rules too bad . Nigeria should never continue to be a receiving end and dumping ground. The tariff on goods to Nigerian ports should be reduced so that Benin republic will not continue as an alternative ports for transshipment of goods .The Best Policy Buhari administration to helping boost local made goods . Henceforth Nigerian Customs should be working with the army , and other task agency as to ensure corruption at the border post kept to bearest minimum level . Lastly no time table be given for Nigeria border opening. because Nigeria land border has been porous for very long time., and no any countr was a target but for security reason and illegal goods coming to Nigeria was the reason for the Nigeria border closure

    • Anonymous

      January 20, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Let’s boost Nigeria economy i supported the closure of border, it will remain close till the growth of our country economy.

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Real Estate and Construction

Tax on rents and Certificate of Occupancy is valid – Akabueze

FIRS had announced that stamp duty will be paid on house rent and C of O.

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FIRS boss wants to tax street traders, artisans, others, FIRS tighten noose on deduction of stamp duty, CIT, others, FIRS issues taxpayers deadline to obtain Tax Identification Number, Nami targets N4 trillion from oil & gas to meet President Buhari's unusual target, FIRS set to deploy new technology in tax collection, as MDAs refuse to pay 7.5% tax

The Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, announced that the recent FIRS taxes on Certificate of Occupancy and rents is not new and has been around since the 1980s.

He disclosed this in the 2021-2023 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF&FSP) on Friday, adding that ever since the 80s, his landlord had always given him a postage stamp on his rent receipts, and that the law was not just recognized for a long time.

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“Over time, because the culture of postage has dropped off and that was not being implemented. What FIRS has done now is to make that into electronic stamp that you can still use to comply with the existing law,” Akabueze said.

Last week, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) announced that stamp duty will be paid on house rent and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), in line with its new adhesive duty. The new duty was inaugurated in Abuja at the official inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Audit and Recovery of Back Years Stamp Duties.

FIRS Director for Communication and Liaison Department, Mr Abdullahi Ahmad, said the new policy was necessary so as to give the instruments the legal backing required and make them legally binding on all parties involved in such transactions.

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Consequently, Ahmad asked Nigerians to ensure that documents that related to rent and lease agreements for homes or offices, C of O, and other common business-related transaction instruments were authenticated with the new FIRS Adhesive Stamp Duty.

He also advised Nigerians to make sure that any document related to leasing agreements and rents related to offices and homes, including C of O and other transaction instruments used in these seals were authenticated with the new FIRS Adhesive Stamp Duty.

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Coronavirus

Port-Harcourt International airport resumes flight operations

The first flight to Port Harcourt was conducted by Air Peace 5N EUV from Lagos.

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FAAN reacts to release of guideline for resumption of flight operations post covid-19, FAAN releases new guidelines for post covid-19 flight operations

The Port Harcourt International Airport formally resumed flight operations on Saturday, July 11, with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), restating its commitment towards a zero coronavirus transmission.

This was disclosed by the Regional Manager South-South and South-East of FAAN, Abayomi Akinbinu, on Saturday, July 11, during the arrival of the first flight after 3 months of shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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The first flight, which was conducted by Air Peace 5N EUV from Lagos, arrived Port-Harcourt International Airport terminal at 7.50 am.

He said the Port-Harcourt airport management was ready to ensure zero chances of the coronavirus transmission with the management giving no room for default of the COVID-19 safety guidelines by regulatory authorities as flight operations resume at the airport.

He frowned at the non-adherence to physical distancing rule, while also commending safety compliance level by service providers and passengers at the airport.

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According to Abayomi, “Our markings of 1.5 metres apart are visibly on the floor, but maybe because of excitement it’s not being properly followed; so we need to make quick enforcement in that regard.”

He said although there was low turnout of passengers, he expected a gradual increase in the coming days.

He said, “On the departure section, we are gradually getting more passengers and I believe that going forward passengers’ turnout is going to increase. My message to prospective passengers is that the Port Harcourt International Airport terminal is safe.”

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On his own part, the Head of Aviation Medical Clinic of the airport, Dr Nuhu Mwabi, said that the Port Health is seriously conducting mandatory temperature checks on both service providers and passengers before allowing them into the airport terminal building.

Nuhu said, “This is because we want to fish out persons with a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius and above, so that we can isolate such individual. Our cardinal objective is to ensure that we contain the spread of COVID-19 as well as other communicable diseases within the airport.”

He added that the World Health Organization and the various medical teams were ready to professionally handle any suspected case, should the need arise.

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It can be recalled that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had last week announced the resumption schedule for flight operations for the various airports across the country. The Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport resumed flight operations on July 8.

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Coronavirus

Lagos Govt Seals Acouns Medical Lab for conducting illegal COVID-19 tests

The lab conducted COVID-19 tests without required government approval.

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The Lagos State Ministry of Health has sealed a private medical laboratory that was conducting illegal COVID-19 tests inside a pharmacy at Banana Island in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The ministry stated that the laboratory, Acouns Medical Laboratory and Diagnostic Centre, conducted COVID-19 tests without required government approval.

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According to a NAN report, the laboratory was sealed on Friday, July 10 by one of the agencies of the Ministry of Health – Health Facility Monitoring Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA).

The ministry warned in its Saturday morning tweet, that such health facilities posed a danger to their communities and staff, and discouraged residents from patronising facilities that had not been duly accredited for such purposes.

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“It is illegal to manage COVID-19 cases outside of an accredited facility. We implore the public not to go for tests or treatment in a private facility that has not been accredited by government.

“It is dangerous and it might put you at more risk,” it said.

The ministry promised to ensure that health facilities in the state adhered strictly to the standards put in place, and urged residents to cooperate with the authorities.

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Recall that a few weeks ago, the Lagos State government announced it has added Seven Private Laboratories into its testing strategy to expand capacity in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Lagos state has, through its accredited health facilities, conducted over 45,000 COVID-19 tests, with over 7000 confirmed cases from the number.

The ministry had also recently announced the private health facilities accredited for the purpose of COVID-19 testing.

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