President Nana Akufo-Addo has donated CFA 450,000 to stranded Ghanaian drivers at the Seme-Krake border between Nigeria and Benin.
Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, made the donation on behalf of the Ghanaian President.
The money is to help ease their financial burden as the Nigerian and Ghanaian authorities dialogue over the reopening of the border.
Mr Ahenkorah and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu, met with the stranded Ghanaian truck drivers at the Seme-Krake border.
The meeting afforded the deputy ministers and the delegation comprising representatives from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and CEPS, to collate information about the particulars of the affected drivers, companies and items onboard their trucks.
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 data about the 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.
For his part, Mr Ahenkorah said: “The 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. ”
According to him, the effect of the closure of the Nigerian border will affect Ghana’s projections on raking in foreign exchange through the non-traditional export platform.
The Deputy Trades Minister was, however, upbeat that after meeting with their Nigerian counterparts, an amicable solution will be found within the shortest possible time.
One of the drivers, Tahiru Mohammed, in narrating his ordeal at the closed border said: ”I arrived here on 16 August 2019 but I have been compelled to stay here and I’m finding it very difficult to feed myself and my two mates.”
Mr Mohammed 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.
The latest visit to the Seme-Krake border is a sequel to the one made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; and Trade and Industry Minister, Kwadwo Alan Kyerematen on 16 October 2019 to Abuja to find a solution to the problem.
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 that Ghana was not the target.
They expressed regret at the impact of the border closure on Ghanaian businesses and promised to create a safe passage for Ghanaian traders to enable them to transport their goods to Nigeria.
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.
The borders were closed in August 2019.
The Deputy Ministers continued their trip to Abuja and are expected to submit recommendations to the Nigerian authorities on Thursday, 31 October 2019.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has pledged to update the citizenry through media publications after Thursday’s follow-up meeting in Abuja.