By Godfrey Bivbere
After the nation’s border has been closed since last year, Nigerians in Ghana have resorted to directly delivering their imports to other West African countries rather than routing those imports through Nigeria, a move that will result in loss of income from imports to the nation.
Until now, merchants generally obtain their products from the Lagos markets and transport them by road to West African countries, but with the closure of the border, however, moving cargo from Nigeria became impossible, resulting in merchants looking for alternatives.
The first effort as reported by Maritime report at the end of last year it was groupage Shipping from Nigeria to Ghana by sea that did not work as a result of the deadline for the goods to reach their destination.
A source also said Maritime report that the delay was deliberate as the Ghanaian authorities ensured that the goods did not leave the port as soon as other shipments.
Is, Maritime report Put together, it led to direct importation to West African countries from China. The source said this is the wish of the Ghana government, as direct importation benefits the country the most.
One of the traders stated: “We are now importing directly from Ghana. We meet, we import our products directly from China to any of the African countries. Sometimes three to five people import their products and ship them in a container like we were doing in Nigeria.
“Since our government has refused to open the borders, what do they want us to do? We must survive In the past he had two houses, one in Ghana and one in Lagos. Transfer between both countries, arriving in Lagos to buy goods when my stocks are reduced and to return to Ghana after the transaction.
“Now I am forced to deliver my accommodation in Lagos, arriving in Nigeria only at the end of the year and I simply move directly to the village. It is Nigeria who will lose at the end of the day. ”
Confirming this development, the National President of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Brokers Association, ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike, explained that some Ghanaian-based Nigerian merchants had contacted him to provide links to Chinese manufacturers.
The ANLCA president noted that unless the federal government quickly reviews the border closure policy, Nigeria will not only lose revenue but will soon lose its position as trade facilitator for the West African subregion.
He stated: “It is true. I have clients in Ghana who really wanted contacts of manufacturers in China to allow them to import directly into the West African country. So what it means is that the closure of the border has opened the eyes of neighboring West African countries to leave Nigeria as a hub to import directly from Europe and other countries like China.
“This means that neighboring countries like Ghana will increase their income from imports, while Nigeria will continue to lose income and the status of a center in West Africa.”
Similarly, the Vice President of the Nigerian Tire Marketers Association, Okechukwu Eze-Ifeoma, said Maritime report which is not only Ghana but most of the countries of West and Central Africa.
Eze-Ifeoma said Maritime report Although they knew in the past that they could import directly, they did not know that they could obtain their cheapest and fastest products from Nigeria due to the competitive nature of trade in the country.
In his words, “That is correct. Most people are now buying directly from China to any country in West or Central Africa. Even before the closure, you know that there was a border closure that the government was unable to return to. open even before COVID-19.
“When COVID-19 arrived, everything became serious and restricted. It is true and the effect on the country’s economy is now enormous. Many people who are supposed to come to Nigeria; you know; Why most of these countries come to Nigeria is due to the competitive nature of Nigerian business.
“A particular product, more than 2,000 people will import it. Sometimes you can even get it cheaper; instead of going to China to buy a container; You could get someone who can buy 50 containers. So most of them know they can get it cheaper; which prevents them from going to China to buy directly.
“Not only Ghana, even Angola. Most of the Angolan people also come to Nigeria. Most of the people of Malawi, all these countries come to Nigeria to buy; But these days, most of them have been directing their money to China to buy directly. If you buy products and can’t get them to your base, it doesn’t make sense. “