The majority of citizens in Benin, a country bordering Nigeria’s east coast, have been using the contraband gasoline called”Kpayo” for several decades. But for the last three years, the price of this basic necessity has only risen sharply. This time, in only 72 hours in Cotonou city and surroundings its price went from simple to almost double.
“Kpayo” is the name given in Benin to smuggled gasoline from neighbouring Nigeria, a major oil producer, where fuel is heavily subsidized. A few months ago, about 90% of Beninese who obtain their supplies from this informal sector paid per litre for this product at a cost that varies between CFA 325f and CFA 375f. Since August 20, the date of the closure of the borders between Benin and the eastern giant, Nigeria, the price of this basic necessity product that allows the average Beninese whose salary is around 40,000f (the SMIG) to obtain supplies has continued to rise.
Since Saturday, 9 November 2019, this price has increased significantly, reaching 600f or 750f CFA in places, while at the pump this price currently stands at 550f CFA where long queues of motorcycles and cars are observed waiting for supplies. According to the sources approached, there are several reasons for this situation, which Beninese deplore, as they have always had the informal sector as their source of supply.
For them, the first cause is the crisis that has shaken Benin and Nigeria since the border closed, but it could also be the latest decision of the Nigerian government that ordered customs services to ensure that no deliveries of this product are made within 20 km of Nigeria’s borders, so smuggling routes have been militarized where violence is taking place.