Segun Oladipupo |
Some section of the stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry has defended the policy of government on border closure, saying it was the best that could be done under the present circumstances .
They however called on government to put better structure on ground to further shore up the country against making it a dumping ground by the neighboring countries.
At a recent stakeholders meeting organized by the Nigerian Shippers Council in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of the Council, Barr. Hassan Bello said that the meeting was to take stock of the border closure and to suggest ways on how government could make the exercise a better one.
According to him, the federal government has decided to look at the ills bedevilling the economy, hence the decision to restrict what comes into the country from its neighbours,especially as they have negative impacts on the economy.
“This is an economic activity that happens in a nation when a nation makes introspection and looks inward to see what is happening to its economy.
“The partial closure of the land border has become the policy of the federal government. Let me first say it is not a permanent thing.
“For long, Nigeria has been taking things lightly with its neighbors. We are often called the big brother and at the same time we have been the dustbin where everything is put on the big brother”.
Also speaking, Otunba Kunle Folarin, Chairman, Port Consultative Council (PCC), queried why the border countries should cry more than the bereaved.
He therefore adduced their agitation to the fact that they have been having undue advantage over the country by importing quantity of rice too much for their countries for onward passage to Nigeria.
Otunba Folarin said government should be encouraged to see out the era when Nigeria does not benefit from balance of trade on voyages
“Why are the border countries crying about our border closure? We closed our border, we didn’t close their borders, why should you cry more than the bereaved?
“But then, we should look at it beyond that. Isn’t answering questions about borders?
“Should we be concerned when a country of eleven million is ordering rice for 200 million. Should we not be concerned when a country is getting its import for vehicles without looking for foreign exchange to support that importation
“Should we not be concerned when these cross border countries determe voyage on Nigeria without any benefit to Nigeria in balance of trade position”.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Nasiru Salami, West Africa Road Transport Union (WARTU) Public Relations Officer blamed the government for not being proactive in the first instance that led to dumping of goods into the country.
Salami pointed out that the country does not have security agents in the neighboring countries that will monitor the inflow of goods or give data of how goods move across the border.
He said no other country would do that for Nigeria saying that such countries will take advantage of such loopholes to dump their cargo on the country.
“Nigeria does not have security agents in each of these neighbouring countries.
The office will collect information on what moves, you don’t expect another country to do security for you.
“Burkina Faso customs does tracking of cargo and pay for it because they want to collect their revenues. They monitor their revenue. Do you want to blame others because you do not put structure on ground?, he queried.
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