Border Closure: LCCI seeks solutions to challenges at Nigerian Seaports

 

Abiola Seun  |    

Ths Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has asked the federal government to fix challenges fuelling cargo diversion to neighbouring countries at the nation’s seaports.

In a press statement made available to newsmen against the backdrop of the extension of the border closure to January 31, 2020, the Director General of the association, Muda Yusuf said clearing cargo at the Nigerian ports is one of the most expensive and cumbersome in the world.

Muda, who frowned at the continued border closure, said majority of the victims of the border closure are small businesses, most of them in the informal sector.

According to him, the means of livelihood of the small businesses has been put in great jeopardy.

He said, “This class of traders (Small scale business) do not have the capacity to move their products by sea because of the modest scale of their operations.

”Supply chain of some business have been completely disrupted. Maritime sector investors have been denied opportunities offered by transit cargo destined for landlocked countries which normally come through the Nigerian ports. The closure has triggered an unprecedented hike in prices with a devastating impact on the poor. This implies further aggravation of the poverty situation in the country.”

Yusuf however asked the federal government to fix some fundamental governance shortcomings as part of a sustainable solution to the border closure.

The statement reads, “We need to fix our institutions for effective border management and policing. We need to review our import tariff policies for better compliance.

”Current tariffs and charges are prohibitive. We need to review our foreign exchange policies to discount inherent subsidies. Besides, the exchange rate should reflect the key economic fundamentals.

“We need to fix our infrastructures in order to build an economy that is efficient, productive and competitive.

“Current infrastructure financing is grossly inadequate to make the economy competitive. High production cost remains a fundamental problem for the economy.”

“We need to fix our seaports to reduce cargo diversion. Clearing cargo at the Nigerian ports is one of the most expensive and cumbersome in the world.”

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