A number of businesses in Ghana are feeling the heat in the midst of the Nigerian border closure. Some businesses are likely to shut down if the impasse is not resolved by the end of 2019
A report by the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggests that local businesses particularly in the Ashanti region are feeling the heat due to the border closure. Thus some businesses in the region are losing about $3 million a week. Also, there is the additional threat of a possible shut down of their operations as a result of the situation.
The report was drawn from a recent visit to some selected companies in the Ashanti region by officials of the Chamber . Purpose of visit was to evaluate business performance and market strategies in the midst of Nigeria’s border closure. The team visited a number of companies including Angel Group of Companies, Uni-Jay Fashion, and Asamoa Yamoah Yamoa Farms all in Kumasi. The companies operate in transport, trading, construction, fashion and farming sectors.
The National President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nana Apiagyei Dankawoso led the tour. He stressed on the need for business owners to remain resilient in the face of recent challenges. He further gave his word that the border will reopen soon. This will allow passage of goods from Ghana as well as boost business between Ghana and Nigeria.
Why did Nigeria close its borders?
However in another development, media reports from Nigeria suggest the border will be opened some time in 2020. A Nigerian Minister of State has mentioned that the country rather wants foreign businesses to set up local plants to cater for local demand.
He stated, that “these importers should come and establish here; we cannot continue to consume other countries’ goods. No country develops by consuming from others. People should not condemn the government for border closure, it is for our interest. By producing goods locally, jobs will be created, the value of the Naira will appreciate and the chain effect is that the domestic economy will become vibrant”.
He further stated that“we have to emulate the Chinese economy”. When China began manufacturing, people referred to their products as fake. Today, China is leading in the manufacturing of most products in the world. Nigeria can become another China”.
Perhaps there is some substantial truth and words of wisdom in his statements
Why Ghanaian businesses are struggling
Some Ghanaian businesses are feeling the heat of the border closure because of their relatively small and narrow markets. Ghanaians are typically conservative and tend to be comfortable with little. There is usually little aggression to reach higher heights. Having gained entry into the Nigerian market, some of these businesses might have relaxed with poor drive to strive for other foreign markets.
Now the market is gone, if not permanently they still ought to find means to survive under this temporary heat. Local businesses must source for more opportunities in both local and international markets. Especially in the Sub-Saharan African region, countless opportunities exist.
The businesses can stay afloat when there is temporary or even permanent shut down of some markets.