THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disclosed that the Republic of Benin has maintained a strong economic performance despite Nigeria’s closure of the land border connecting the two countries.
Nigeria on the 19 September 2019, had abruptly halted import and export activities on the border as one of its strategies of stopping smuggling, trafficking and other criminal activities.
Luc Eyraud, Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs who led the IMF team in its latest visit to Benin in a press release said the Beninese economic Real GDP is expected to grow by 6.4 per cent in 2019, mostly driven by the agriculture and transport sectors.
“Growth should accelerate in 2020 and remain sustained over the medium term, buttressed by vigorous cotton production, construction, and port activities.
“Consumer price inflation, affected by the high agriculture production, has been on a declining trend, falling by 1.4 per cent in the first nine months of 2019, relative to the same period one year earlier.
“It is expected to remain well below the 3.0 per cent regional ceiling in 2019 and 2020. The fiscal deficit for 2019 is estimated at 2.3 per cent of the recently rebased GDP.
“Performance under the IMF-supported program has been very satisfactory so far this year. All end-June 2019 quantitative performance criteria and the end-September structural benchmark program were met,” read the statement
This recent economic outlook differs from the gloomy analysis given by Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of African Department(IMF) who said that the continuous closure of the Nigerian borders was hurting economies of Benin and Niger Republics.
However, as a result of the closure, analysis by The ICIR suggests that the border closure could inflate the prices of commodities in the Nigerian market.