17 August 2021
Irked by the lingering challenges affecting cross-border trade between the two countries, members of the private sector in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin are making arrangements to establish Nigeria-Benin Commission to create a smooth trade corridor.
Several factors are affecting smooth regional trade among West-African nations, such as corruption, poor government policies and border management disrupts the smooth movement of goods across borders.
These factors are contributing to the high cost of goods due to transportation hiccups, and multiple taxes and charges on the route.
Executive Chairman, West African Association for Cross-Border Trade and Agro-Forestry-Pastoral, Fishery Products and Food (WACTAF), Alhaji Nassiru Alasoadura Salami, at a consultative meeting with stakeholders on the establishment of the Nigeria- Benin Commission, held in Badagry, Lagos at the weekend, said the Nigeria-Benin Commission is long due.
Alasoadura said the commission stands a chance to change the narrative for the Nigeria-Benin borders, noting that the current situations at the borders are not palatable.
“Today, the situation at our borders and the surrounding communities is not palatable. Although, we can fold our hands and continue to talk about what the Government has not done, we have decided to be forward-thinking and take steps that will change the narrative.
”If Nigeria must succeed, then we must minimize finger-pointing and take proactive steps. It is true that we have the rights to ask questions and place demands on the government that we elected, however, if we must progress, we must look away from some of our rights to secure a better future for our children yet unborn.
“This was not the Nigeria I was born into. That Nigeria was better than this. We must reach conclusions that place a burden on the private sector and not solely on the government” he said.
Alasoadura urged the stakeholders to collaborate in a bid to sanitise the borders, saying, “we jointly have the capacity and network to make the Nigeria- Benin Commission a success.”
Former Ambassador of Nigeria to Benin Republic and Chairman of the Proposed Joint Commission, Oguntuase Kayode, in a communiqué, said the group has already identified Badagry for export village, adding that efforts are in top gear to meet the necessary authorities and appeal for funds to drive the commission.
Source: The Guardian