Nigeria and Benin Republic have held a strategic meeting geared towards establishing a permanent joint commission.
Ambassador Oguntuase Kayode, former Nigerian Ambassador to Benin who led the delegation on a visit to the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC said the stakeholder engagement is aimed at promoting socio cultural ties and facilitate export of products between both countries.
According to him, the meeting is also aimed at creating a synergy for export promotion as it is apt in promoting existing socio political and economic ties.
“Nigerian and Benin share 778 kilometers of land and maritime borders and the two countries have been interacting socially and otherwise therefore we thought there is the need to accelerate the growth of our Informal and unrecorded trade which is huge among both countries that is why Nigeria and Benin are pushing for the establishment of the permanent joint commission with advocacy that began since 13th August 2021” He stated
The Ambassador explained that if the joint commission comes in place, smuggling would be reduced drastically and with a joint commission, the existing bileteral agreement will be followed and standardization of rules and policies will be followed.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Dr. Ezra Yakusak said NEPC would he in full support of the Nigeria-Benin Joint Commission due to its relevance to non-oil export.
He said it would also promote socio-economic integration of the countries, encourage formal and legitimate trade and deepen cultural ties between the countries.
Dr. Yakusak lamented the high level of informal trade between both countries, adding that the commission if eventually established will facilitate trade in the region.
“As we all know, there is a high volume of trade between Nigeria and Benin Republic. Sadly, this trading activities are mainly informal. This informal trading pattern has been largely attributed to inadequate border control mechanism between the two countries and in light of this, the NEPC is committed to mainstreaming informal trade within the Nigeria – Benin trading corridor. This will ensure adequate capturing of export data among other advantages” Dr Ezra stated.
He therefore assured Benin of NEPC’s support, on the commencement of advocacy campaign towards establishing the Nigeria – Benin Permanent Joint Commission.
By Matthew Ayoola