Despite colossal advantages, Benin blocks the export of Nigerien crude oil and raises its tone against Niamey on another essential product

Despite colossal advantages, Benin blocks the export of Nigerien crude oil and raises its tone against Niamey on another essential product
Despite colossal advantages, Benin blocks the export of Nigerien crude oil and raises its tone against Niamey on another essential product

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Nigerien crude oil has reached the Sèmè terminal station in southern Benin since Sunday April 21, 2024, according to a report made by the West Africa Oil Pipeline Bénin Company (WAPCO), the main financial arm and manager of the Niger-Benin Pipeline project. .

From the Sèmè terminal, Nigerien oil should be loaded onto ships for export to the international market at a rate of: 90,000 barrels per day.

With the normal operation of the pipeline, Benin benefits, in addition to the 3,000 jobs during the construction phase, 500 permanent jobs in the operation of the structure, classrooms, health centers, etc. for the seventeen (17) communes and 141 villages that the pipeline crosses. And on the fiscal level, more than 300 billion CFA francs (460 million euros) in transit rights and tax revenue for the first twenty years of operation of the pipeline. Added to this are other taxes paid during the construction period.

Benin blocks the export of Nigerien crude oil
While almost no one expected it, Benin ignored all the advantages listed above and decided to block the export of Nigerien crude oil from the Sèmè terminal.

According to several media, including RFI, Cotonou’s decision was taken at the highest level of the State, this Monday, May 6, and notified to the Chinese ambassador to Benin and to the pipeline management company. According to the same sources, it was the Minister of State for Finance and Cooperation who was mandated to do so. In practice, Benin will prohibit its waters from boats that come to take on board Nigerien oil for export.

For many observers, this new position of Benin follows Niger’s stubbornness in maintaining its closed borders with its neighbor.

As a reminder, a supporter of the reestablishment of relations of good cooperation with Niger, Benin, through the voice of its President, noted, from the beginning of December 2023, the disastrous consequences of the measures taken against this country. A pioneer in the lifting of sanctions which became effective at the end of last February, Benin has continued to increase acts of goodwill towards its neighbor in the Sahel. Niamey remains unmoved towards Cotonou even though it opened its borders with Nigeria weeks ago. Hence Benin’s decision this Monday, May 6 to veto the export of Nigerien crude oil via the Sèmè terminal in southern Benin.

This new situation represents a real headache for the military in power in Niamey. Indeed, at the beginning of last April, the Nigerien government announced that it had obtained 400 million dollars from its Chinese partner, as an “advance” on its upcoming sales of crude oil, the marketing of which is due to begin in May. The Chinese loan was made for a period of 12 months with an interest rate of 7%.

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Cotonou raises its tone against Niamey on another essential product

For several months now, despite abundant production of 2,050,000 tonnes last agricultural season for national needs of around 1,000,000 tonnes, the scarcity of corn on the Beninese market has been noted. As a result, the purchase price of this essential product has increased.

The cause of this overbidding on corn was discovered when the Beninese authorities noted massive and fraudulent exports of Beninese corn to Niger and other hinterland countries.

As if to provide further proof of its good faith and its availability to resume good relations with Niamey, Cotonou turned a blind eye to this traffic until a few days ago.

But following the fed up of its population indignant at seeing corn become rare and expensive among them, blithely transiting towards countries which treat Benin as an enemy, the Beninese authorities have just banned the exit of this commodity from the territory nationally until its price drops significantly.

#Petroleum_export, #Pipeline, #Niamey, #Sèmè, #VisBen, #wasexo, #Wapco, #Cotonou, #Crude_oil, #Corn, #China

Francis Z. OKOYA

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