In a bid to stop the spread of Coronavirus, nicknamed Covid-19, countries all over the world closed their borders.
The countries had in principle wanted to stop the importation of the virus, which had become a global crisis.
Since the closure last year and the coming into force of the protocols, which includes but not limited to taken Covid-19 test before departure and arrival at the country’s entry and exit points, some gains have been made, as it was easy to quarantine those who have tested positive, as well as do contact tracing.
However, notwithstanding the gains,one full year is such a long time to shut down a nation’s borders. It is, therefore, the considered opinion of this Newspaper that it is time to reopen the borders.
Fundamentally, it cannot be denied that while governments may have prevented the spread of the virus in various countries, the economies have also suffered tremendously due to the continuous closure.
Inflation has been on the rise resulting in a spike in prices of staple foods in the country mostly as a direct consequence of the closure
To breathe back life into the economies, ECOWAS member states, have proposed January 1, next year for the reopening of all land borders.
ECOWAS sectoral ministers, in collaboration with the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), took the decision at a virtual meeting coordinated from Abuja, Nigeria.
Among the factors informing the decision, the ministers took into consideration is the fact that their economies lost $50 billion in value or 6.7 per cent of their cumulative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2020 and 2021.
Many small businesses have been asphyxiated, while many have lost billions in revenue, because of the continuous closure of the borders.
To be sure, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the key drivers behind the economic development of any country, especially the developing economies.
Accordingly, we call on ECOWAS member countries to without hesitation honourthe January deadline given to reopen their borders, as the pains of the border closure outweigh the gain.
We will hasten to add that, member countries should ensure that, only vaccinated people are allowed to cross the borders into neighboring countries, because Covid-19 is still with us.