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The government is to provide interim support for traders who lost their goods and other items at Nigeria’s border following its closure.

The government of Nigeria in August 2019 closed the Benin-Nigeria border to stop the smuggling of food and other goods into the country.

The border closure has since caused losses for many traders who export goods from Ghana into Nigeria.

The Communications Head at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Prince Boakye Boateng told Citi News the Government has taken inventory of all the trucks, drivers and their owners to provide them with interim support while they negotiate with the Nigerian government on addressing the problem.

“Government is very much concerned about what is happening to Ghanaian citizens who have gotten into this problem that we are talking about. We also recall that the government gave some money as a form of trying to alleviate the suffering the people were going through.”

“We are trying to find an amicable solution to the impasse. As I speak to you, the government delegation has taken inventory of all the trucks that are stuck over there. We know the number of drivers that are involved. We are taking steps to mobilize something to keep them afloat while we find a lasting solution to the problem.”

Background

Nigeria closed its border to stop what it called the smuggling of products from its neighbouring West African countries into the country.

The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.

The then Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Olufemi Abikoye, in a meeting with Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey after the decision said the closure is to allow for consultative meetings with its neighbouring countries to find lasting solutions to the smuggling of cheap goods into the country.

After three months of closing the border, Nigeria extended the period for the closure of its frontiers to other countries till January 31, 2020.

The closure which was expected to be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, was extended as a result of the ‘overwhelming success’ the closure had chalked in the face of the country’s economy and security.

GUTA had earlier urged the government to replicate Nigeria’s decision to protect its market from smuggled goods.

The President of the Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng said Ghana should learn from Nigeria and also sanitize its sector.

Meanwhile, there have been moves by the Ministries of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and some other groups to meet with representatives from Nigeria to set out modalities on how Ghanaian traders may easily cross the Nigerian-Benin border with their goods.

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