The Country Director for the AfCFTA, Mr Louis Yaw Afful, has said that the Nigerian Government will not open it borders anytime soon. This is because the border closure was raking the country some N2 million Niara monthly since the action was taken in August last year.
Speaking on the ‘Business Focus” show on Accra based television channel, Mr Yaw opined that no foreign policy can persuade the Nigerian Authorities to open it borders for traders from neighbouring countries to enter into the country with their goods.
“The economic reasons why it’s closed is more stronger than any foreign policy that we are all talking about”, he said.
Nigerian Border Closure
On August 20, 2019, the Nigerian Government, in a move to curb the smuggling of large quantities of rice and other essential commodities, took steps to close it borders to neighbouring countries including Benin and Niger, whose borders were partially closed.
When this happened, Ghanaian Businesses who ferry their goods and services to cities in Nigeria and Benin, had their commodities locked out behind border gates.
Despite this, the Ghanaian traders saw the closure as a temporal blip to their businesses. They thought that authorities in their sister West African country will soon re-open the borders.
But to the surprise of these Ghanaian businesses, the Nigerian Government, later announced that it was extending the border closure to January 31, 2020.
Fast forward to January 31 and the borders still remain closed. This has left the Ghanaian businesses in total dismay with it attendant effect being a reprisal action meted out against Nigerian traders in the Accra and Kumasi.
GUTA not affected
Contributing to the matter on the same issue, the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Dr Joseph Obeng, pointed out that although the actions of the Nigerian Government, may look frustrating. Its members are not being affected by the border closure because Nigeria was not considered a business destination for them.
“We are only disappointed because they didn’t give us prior notice of the border closure”, he said.
He said, its members only go to Nigeria to trade when the Forex rate was a bit favourable as compared to other business destinations.
“We are not affected by this border closure at all because we don’t consider Nigeria as business destination, we only go there when the Forex is favourable”, he said.