President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has donated a sum of 450,000 CFA franc to stranded Ghanaian drivers at the Seme-Krake Border of Nigeria and Benin.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, which was copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, made the donation on behalf of the President.
“The money is to help ease their financial burden as the Nigerian and Ghanaian authorities’ dialogue over the reopening of Nigeria’s borders,” the statement said.
It noted that Mr Ahenkorah and Mr Charles Owiredu, a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, met with the Ghanaian truck drivers stranded at the Seme-Krake border.
It said the meeting afforded the deputy ministers and the delegation from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and Customs Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS) to collate information about the particulars of affected drivers, companies and items on board their trucks to the Nigerian market.
Addressing the drivers, Mr Owiredu described the closure as unfortunate and commended the drivers for their fortitude in the midst of the challenges.
He explained that the visit was aimed at verifying a data about traders affected by the closure of the Seme-Krake border.
He assured the drivers of the Government’s support to address the problem as quickly as possible.
On his part, Mr Ahenkorah said “Government is working around the clock to ensure that the safe passage that the Nigerian authorities promised to provide for Ghanaian traders becomes a reality”.
He said the effect of the closure of the Nigerian border would affect Ghana’s projections on raking in foreign exchange through the non-traditional export platform.
The statement said Mr Ahenkorah was however upbeat that after meeting with their Nigerian counterparts, an amicable solution would be found within the shortest possible time.
It noted that meanwhile, one of the drivers, Tahiru Mohammed, while recounting his ordeal at the Seme-Krake border, said “I arrived here on August 16, 2019 but I have been compelled to stay here and I’m finding it very difficult to feed myself and my two mates”.
The statement said the stranded driver added that about 200 trucks from Ghana have been parked at the border and a good number of them have had their parts including batteries stolen.
It said the latest visit to the Seme-Krake border was a follow up on the one made by Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Mr Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry Minister, on October 16, to Abuja to find a solution to the problem.
The statement said it would be recalled that during the first Abuja meeting, the Nigerian authorities explained that the aim of the border closure was to prevent the entry of contraband goods from Benin including rice and Ghana was not the target.
It said they expressed regret at the impact of the borders closure on Ghanaian businesses and promised to create a safe passage for Ghanaian traders to enable them to transport their goods to Nigeria.
It said one of the requests made by Nigeria was for Ghana to furnish her with details about the companies, trucks and goods being exported to her market.
It said the borders were closed in August this year.
The statement said the Deputy Ministers continued their trip to Abuja and were expected to submit the recommendations to the Nigerian authorities on Thursday October 31.
It said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration had pledged to update the citizenry through media publications after Thursday’s follow-up meeting in Abuja.