The President of Benin Republic, Patrick Talon, on Tuesday confessed that the downturn in the Nigerian economy is adversely affecting his country and other African nations.
Benin Republic derives about 70% of its revenue from the Port Autonome de Cotonou, which is the landing port for most of the goods smuggled into Nigeria.
Authorities of the francophone country have been accused in the past of undermining Nigeria’s security and economic interest by deliberately aiding smuggling activities across the frontiers.
Describing Nigeria as the engine room of West Africa, Talon urged the country to explore its non-oil sectors to increase its revenue profile being reduced by falling oil prices in the international market.
Talon, who was on a one day state visit to Nigeria, spoke during a joint press briefing with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Stressing that Nigeria remains a big brother in Africa, the Benin Republic President noted that the country relied for too long on crude oil revenue to the detriment of other sectors.
He said the discussions at the closed door meeting with Buhari bordered on security and economy, adding that his country looks forward to reactivate the existing bilateral relationship with Nigeria especially in the areas of trade relations, economy, energy development and education.
Talon said his country will work with Nigeria to end the current illegal trade between the two countries.
He said, “There is illegal trade between the two countries which is creating difficulties between the two countries. We looked at the possibility of re-energizing the trade between the two countries so that illegal trade is discouraged.”
He invited President Buhari to Benin Republic in order to enhance cooperation between the two countries.
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