The Ministry of Trade and Industry has hinted of a crunch meeting which will be held between the Commissioner of Customs for Nigeria and that of Ghana to discuss issues of the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border at Seme.
The meeting is expected to help the two countries set out modalities on how Ghanaian traders may easily cross the Nigerian-Benin border with their goods.
According to the Deputy Minister-in-charge of Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, an announcement will be made after the meeting on Monday to that effect.
The Deputy Minister was hopeful the meeting would yield positive results considering the outcomes of all the meetings held between the two countries.
The Deputy Minister stated that following meetings with the Commissioner of Customs and the Minister of Foreign affairs of Nigeria last Wednesday, a Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) truck which was conveying products from Ghana to Nigeria for an exhibition was allowed into that country after several days of staying behind the Nigerian border.
This, the Minister said was a good sign and he was very optimistic the meeting on Monday would yield the needed results.
Speaking on Citi TV‘s The Big Issue, the Deputy Minister said the modalities would make it easier for both Ghanaian and Nigerian trucks to cross the border and improve transparency for Nigerian authorities.
According to him, the two sovereign states are hoping to among other things arrive at a decision that would make authorities know the quantity and type of products enroute to each other’s country before the goods arrive.
“When we got to the commissioner of customs, the customs people who went with us also had a very hearty discussion with him and they were all on one side saying that it is important that they have a customs to customs cooperation where they will exchange information even about goods that are about leaving Ghana to Nigeria, so they can do same for us. That way they know what is coming into their country”.
“You heard me say that we are going to create a special window for these Ghana trucks to be able to move in, and the Foreign affairs Minister of Nigeria promised to do this with Ghana and to have that exchange. So the Commissioner of Customs for Ghana and that of Nigeria are supposed to sit down and come up with modalities on Monday. He went further to promise that on Monday we are having a crunch meeting and after that meeting, they are going to come out with a brilliant announcement and so we should all open our ears,” Mr. Ahenkorah added.
Nigeria closed its frontiers in what it says is to stop the smuggling of products from its neighboring West African countries into Nigeria.
The action taken by Nigeria was to express its displeasure at the attitude of the Beninese authorities in order to elicit their cooperation.
The closure of the borders which started in August 2019 was expected to be in force for twenty-eight (28) days, however, it looks like the issues remain unresolved thus the continuous closure.
Many trucks have been stranded at the Seme border for several weeks now.