Negotiations between Ghanaian and Nigerian authorities to reopen the closed Benin border has failed.
This is as result of the insistence of Nigerian authorities to keep the country’s borders closed to businesses from neighbouring West African Countries.
Consequently, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, has asked all Ghanaian exporters with registered trucks stuck at the closed Nigerian-Benin border to return home.
“President of Ghana wants all Ghanaian registered trucks that are seated at the border to come back home. Indeed, he has asked us to go to the border to assess the situation.
“From interactions we have had with Nigeria, it does not seem they will re-open the border soon, it is very unfortunate,” Mr Ahenkorah is quoted to have said.
Again, the Deputy Trade Minister further explained the Nigerian Government’s insistence on the border closure is owed to some three trade conditions as part of 10 others that the Benin government had refused to implement.
GUTA on the closure
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), has described the closure of Nigeria’s trade borders to Benin and other neighbouring countries including Ghana as an outright breach of ECOWAS treaties.
The Association’s President, Dr Joseph Obeng, had easlier on told the media that the closure had prolonged due to the failure on the part of the Foreign Affairs Ministry as well as the ECOWAS parliament to put the member state in check.
This act, he insisted, flies in the face of the entire ECOWAS treaties on the free movement of people and good in the region.
“Nigeria has blatantly flouted ECOWAS protocol if there is even something like that. Surprisingly, the foreign affairs ministry has failed to deal with this issue, nobody is talking to this issue and for two months Ghanaian goods have been locked up in Nigeria”, he added.
Genesis of the 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.
The closure of the Nigeria-Benin Border has entered its eighth month with Ghanaian exporters complaining massively over the impact it has had on trading activities as well as profit margins.
For instance, beverage manufacturing firm, Kasapreko Ltd had course to complain about how the closure had resulted in about a GH¢2 million loss in profits to the company in just about two months of the border closure.
President Mahammadu Buhari, last month, after a meeting with the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, insisted that Nigerian borders will only be reopened upon certain recommendations from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He further called on all affected neighboring countries to exercise restraint over the closure of the Nigerian border with Benin.