December 18, 2020

More commendations trail reopening of Nigeria’s land borders

More commendations continued to trail the Federal Government’s directive for the immediate reopening of four land borders that were shut about 15 months ago.

Those opened are the Seme in the South-west, Mfun in the South-south, Ilela and Maigatari borders in the North-west.

The government also promised to reopen others before Dec. 31.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the development on Friday in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of ARVO Finance, Ayotunde Bally, described the government’s decision as a welcome development.

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“I commend the President for re-opening the borders.

“Since the closure of the borders, food prices have soared, reaching an all-time high of 18.3 per cent.

“Inflation in the country of the more than 200 million people also rose to a three-year high of 14.9 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS),’’ Bally said.

Prof. Ndubisi Nwokoma, Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research, University of Lagos, said reopening the land borders was commendable.

“It is a good development; I never supported the closure of the border in the first place.

“Whatever the reasons were in closing the borders, they could have been addressed by strengthening internal structures in the security agencies and the Customs among others,’’ Nwokoma said.

He urged the government to strengthen the Customs and the security agencies to do their job professionally and strengthening relations with our neighbours in a mutually beneficial way.

The Chief Executive Officer of BIC Consultancy, Dr Boniface Chizea, said it was a good decision by the government to immediately reopen the land borders.

“As a country, we did not have much choice but to throw open the border now if we recall that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement commences early in the New Year.

“In spite of our legendary problem of punching below our weight, Nigeria no doubt remains a significant and dominant country in Africa.

“And recalling the pioneering role Nigeria played to berth the idea of Africa economic trade zone, we must be seen to be leading by example,’’ he said.

According to him, the main motivation for closing the border was to give an opportunity for the country to revive some moribund manufacturing capacity, particularly the rice mills.

He said that there was also the problem of neighbouring nations, allowing their countries to be used for transhipment of imported goods particularly rice from Thailand.

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Dr Isaac Nwaogwugwu, a Public Sector Economist at the Department of Economics, University of Lagos said, however, that he was not in support of the border closure.

“The closure of Nigerian borders was, in the first place wrong.

“So reopening of the same was long overdue.

“It a welcome development as the nation has gained little or nothing from the closure.

“Again, Nigeria is a signatory to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which fundamentally goes against unwarranted protectionism.

“For Nigeria to have signed the agreement only to have its borders shut was not only contemptuous but incoherent with espoused state trade and regional economic policy,’’ Nwaogwugwu said.

Vanguard News Nigeria