The closure of borders by Nigeria with its neighbour is biting hard on the economy of Benin Republic and other West African countries, forcing the exchange of the CFA (the currency of the Francophone West Africa) to crash in favour of the naira.
The border security operation, code-named ‘Exercise Swift Response’, enters its 44th day on October 2, 2019.
N1000, which was exchanged for CFA 1500 before the border closure, now exchanges at CFA1650 to N1000 according to traders.
Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, which has over the years powered Benin Republic’s economy, sourced through smuggling across Nigerian borders with the small Francophone West African nation, now sells at CFA500 (N302) per litre.
Just a little over a month ago, before the ‘border closure’, it was selling at CFA300 (N181) per litre in the country while it is selling at N145 in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Sam Afejuman, a lecturer at Ecole Professionnelle Specialisee-La Cite Universite, Cotonou, Benin Republic, life is getting tough by the day in the country as all business houses related to doing business with Nigeria closed while most warehouses in Cotonu is filled with goods (especially rice and frozen food) meant for Nigeria.
He disclosed that close to the borders are hundreds of Nigeria-bound trucks loaded with goods which have not been able to cross the border to Nigeria.
Afejuman said most of the trucks trapped at the borders are ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation (ETLS) goods coming from other West African countries. A development he said has put the economies of the West African countries in serious jeopardy.
“Generally, business is very dull-the closure has affected all ECOWAS countries. Most Benin warehouses are filled up with rice and frozen chicken. Generally, business is very dull in Benin Republic because most businesses in Benin Republic are patronised by Nigerians (across the border and inside the country),” he said.