The depreciation of the Naira has affected the cost of living among the people living in the border between Nigeria and Republic of Benin. Nigerian traders who shuttle between Nigeria and neighboring Francophone countries are not finding things easy either.
Also, CFA franc, the legal tender in Francophone countries has gained strength. The Naira has jumped from N210 to N630 to exchange for CFA 1,000.
Speaking about the ugly development, Speaker of Baruten Local Government Legislative Council, Kosubosu, a border community in Kwara State, Alhaji Abdullahi Salihu said that most businessmen now stopped going to Benin Republic to buy goods because the value of the Naira has gone down.
He regretted that the cost of living is now very high in the area.
“A bag of rice that we used to buy at N6,200 now sells for N10,000. A tin tomato now goes for N60 instead of N30. A gallon of Olive oil now goes for N1,800 as against N1,200.”
He said that the situation only pays those that are smuggling petroleum products and cement to Benin Republic.
Ahmed Idris who worked for the Kwara State Board of Internal Revenue, Boriya, (another border community) said that the free fall of the naira has strengthened CFA Franc. “People are not going to Benin Republic to do business again. The money people used to buy two cars before, they now use the same amount of Naira to buy one car.”
Idris said that however, the situation now favours those exporting agricultural produce to Benin Republic.
Another trader, Wale Odewale, who deals in traditional medicine and shuttles between Nigeria and Benin Republic said that it is profitable to sell made in Nigeria products in Benin Republic “because their money is very strong. But the free fall of naira has affected their economy because their economy depend on Nigerian economy.
“Our people are not going there to buy goods again, so it has affected their economy. That is why I am not travelling until the naira regains its value,” he said.
The situation has also affected Mummy Dami, a Lagos-based trader who used to go to Senegal to sell made in Nigeria textiles and also import textile materials from Senegal.
“Before it was N350 to CFA 1,000 but now it is N610 to CFA 1,000. It has affected my business because by the time you add up other expenses, there is no gain in travelling to do business in Senegal now. I have suspended further trip till the Naira appreciates,” she said.
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