The government is considering compensation for Ghanaian traders whose goods have been locked up on the Benin-Nigeria border after Nigeria decided to close its border.
The border which was shut down in September 2019 by Nigeria authorities was expected to check the smuggling of cheap and substandard goods to Nigeria.
Many of the Ghanaian traders have been left stranded and frustrated because they are unable to transport their goods across resulting in losses.
The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Oweredu who spoke to the media at the National Consultation Workshop for evaluation of ECOWAS vision 2020 said the government is taking the appropriate measures to provide relief for traders.
"Government is aware of what happened, when we visited for the first time we gave the traders some pocket money. Some of the goods have gone bad because they have been there for several months, we need to compensate those who made these loses, it is something the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry are considering so those who have encountered the problem government will see to it, they need compensation or support."
Ghanaian SMEs are suffering, please open your borders - Mahama appeals to Buhari
Former President John Mahama has appealed to Nigeria to open its border at Seme.
According to the former President, even though he could appreciate the effect of rice smuggling on Nigeria, the unilateral decision to close the border is harmful to the ECOWAS agenda.
Delivering the 7th Real News Magazine Anniversary Lecture in Lagos Nigeria, the former President called on the Nigerian government to immediately strengthen its structures to check the illegal importation of goods so the borders can be reopened.
“The unilateral closure of the Nigeria border since August is a very worrying development for the growth of free trade in the ECOWAS sub-region. One can understand the harmful effects of the unbridled smuggling of goods on the growth of local production. But it is problematic that sub-regional economic activity and trade should suffer because of domestic institutional weaknesses.”
“Nigeria must invest in strengthening its institutions and systems that are responsible for the importation of illegal or prohibited goods. The total closure especially the Benin border is having a toll on many SMEs especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire that rely on inter-country trade for survival. Businesses in Nigeria that also rely on supplies from this area are also suffering. With the signing of the joint task force agreement within Nigeria and her neighbors, I want to appeal to Nigeria to open up its borders so that economic activities can resume.”