“Hunger, High Cost of Food Items”: Experts Say Border Closure May Cost Nigeria $226 Million in Trade

“Hunger, High Cost of Food Items”: Experts Say Border Closure May Cost Nigeria $226 Million in Trade

  • The two countries are currently on a face-off following a military takeover in Niger
  • Atedo Peterside, Economist and banker, said that airfares from Nigeria would skyrocket due to the border closure
  • Border closure between Nigeria and Niger threatens trade worth about $226.34 million.

The border closure came as the military in Niger took over powers in a coup and ousted the democratically elected President Mohammed Bazoum, which soured the relationship between the two Wester African neighbours.

The result is a border closure by Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, against its neighbour.

Niger, Peterside, Tinubu
President BolaTinubu and Atedo Peterside Credit: KOLA SULAIMON / Contributor
Source: Getty Images

Nigeria shuts borders, offers explanation

Nigeria’s Acting Comptroller of Customs, Bashir Adeniyi, announced that due to the current state of things in Niger, the borders were shut with some locations being off-limit.

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The Customs boss said the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided as a punitive measure to the junta in Niger.

President Bola Tinubu, in a letter, told the Nigerian Senate that ECOWAS came up with a communique against the coup plotters in Niger.

Not only did Nigeria shut its border with Niger, but it also cut off the electricity supply to the country, which experts have said is a breach of the contractual agreement between the two neighbours.

Tinubu said:

“Closure and monitoring of all land borders with the Niger Republic and reactivating of the border drilling exercise, cutting off electricity supply to the Niger Republic, mobilizing international support for the implementation of the provisions of the ECOWAS communiqué; preventing the operation of commercial and special flights into and from the Niger Republic; blockade of goods in transit to Niger, especially from Lagos and eastern seaports.”

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But experts have said the border closure was set to affect the $226.34 million trade between the two countries.

The International Trade Centre said imports and exports between the two countries in 2022 amounted to $226.34 million.

Nigeria imported goods worth $33.43 million from Niger and exported $192.91 million to the country in 2022.

In 2019, Nigeria partly closed its border with Niger and other neighbouring countries, leading to a drop in trade amounting to $18.27 million in 2020 from $85.98 million as of the end of 2019.

The amount represents a 78.76% drop in trade between the two nations.

Items exported to and imported from Niger

Punch reports that data from the multilateral agency revealed that imports from Niger include fruits and nuts, citrus fruits or melons, raw hides and skins and leather, vegetables, tube, dairy products, honey, and others.

Nigeria’s exports included mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, bituminous substances, tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, salt, sulphur, plastering materials, lime, cement, plastics, fertilizers, and others.

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Airspace Closure Will Increase Cost Of Flights, says Atedo Peterside

Meanwhile, Atedo Peterside, an investment banker and economist, said airspace closure would bring further hardship to Nigerians, mainly European travelers.

Atedo revealed this on social media and noted that the case might worsen if Burkina Faso or Mali joined in declining overflight rights to Nigerian-bound aircraft.

He said:

“Closure of Niger Republic airspace will increase the cost of flights from Nigeria to Europe. If Burkina Faso and Mali join Niger in declining overflight rights to Nigerian-bound aircraft, then inbound and outbound flights from Nigeria to Europe will become very expensive.”

The military junta in Niger closed the country’s airspace and warned that attempts to violate it would be met with immediate response.

Daily Trust reports that the move has led to a surge in airfares, especially Lagos-London flights hitting a 49% increase, and Cotonou-London at 162%.

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Legit.ng reported that international airfares, especially to European countries, are expected to keep climbing in the next few days.

This follows the closure of the Nigerien airspace by the country's coup leader on Sunday, August 6, 2023.

National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) announced the closure of Niger Republic’s airspace amid threats by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanding that President Mohamed Bazoum be restored, or there would be military action.

Source: Legit.ng

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