Abiola Seun |
The hope of manufacturers, importers and exporters for reopening of the nation’s borders anytime soon may have been dashed as the Federal government said the border closure will still remain in place as long as the issues which precipitated the ban are still not resolved.
The borders were shut against the neigbouring countries in August 2019 on the order of President Muhammadu Buhari due to unabated smuggling of rice, fuel, poultry, arms and ammunition, hard drugs, illegal migration among others trade malpractices happening through the land borders.
The closure significantly affected trade in foodstuffs especially foreign parboiled rice which had already been affected by various past import restrictions.
The move, according to President Buhari, was part of an effort to tackle smuggling and associated corruption, but also to spur the domestic agricultural revolution.
Also with the directive, imports into Nigeria are to come through seaports, where customs duty and other government taxes can be imposed more easily than at porous land borders where most goods are smuggled in and out of the country.
However, speaking to journalists yesterday, the National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Joseph Attah said the closure of the border will continue until all issues identified by the Nigerian government that led to the closure of the borders are addressed by neigbouring countries.
Attah, who is also the spokesman of the National Border Drill Operation,said the government will review the outcome of the tripartite committee comprising Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republic on the closure of the country’s land borders before it could take a decision on their reopening.
He said, “Government is studying the situation and there is a tripartite committee meeting which Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is involved.
“The outcome of the committee will be reviewed and an appropriate decision will be taken after the tripartite meeting.
“The whole idea is to ensure that the issues that were identified by Nigeria that led to the border closure are addressed.”
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