Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the reopening of Ghana’s land borders to people traffic from Monday 28th, March after almost two-years of shutdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although residents and state agencies operating in border towns are excited about the news, they have also recounted the harsh impact of the closed borders on their revenues and livelihoods.
According to the Assistant Commissioner Fred Duodo, Ghana Immigration Service’s Sector Commander for Aflao, the shutdown of the borders has taken a huge toll on the Service’s revenue mobilization efforts.
“The revenue we generate from processing visas on arrival, penalties for overstays and others go to government but the Service has a percentage but now that those monies have stopped coming in, we can’t have our expected revenue,” he told Single African Market.
He said even though Ghana has reopened its borders, it is required of the Togolese government to also open its land borders to bring life to normalcy.
“We pray and hope that the Togo side will also be opened to human movement; if they don’t do that then travellers cannot cross to Ghana as expected,” he added.
He also assured of the Service’s readiness and commitment to secure the country’s land borders to ensure that people do not take advantage of the reopened borders to come and cause mayhem.
AC Duodo indicated that they have enough officers to man the main borders: “We have enough men on the ground assigned to the main borders.”
Residents of Aflao say the impact of the border reopening on commercial activities will be witnessed when the Togolese border is also opened to commuters.
Meanwhile Prof. Paul Nugent, Professor of African History at the University of Edinburgh has argued that the region should have reopened its borders quite earlier and attributed the delay to sheer inertia.
“It was a kind of collective decision to close the borders and so you’ll need everyone to agree to reopen which was going to be a long and complicated process,” he said.
He was also of the view that African government were satisfied with the movement of critical or essential goods through their sea ports and were not much concerned about physical movement of people due to the deadly pandemic.