By Raji Rasak
The Badagry Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (BACCIMA) says the reopening of four land borders in parts of the country will boost trade between Nigeria and her neighbours and help the economy to grow.
Mr Opeyemi Oke, the Director-General, BACCIMA, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Badagry.
He said that the decision by the Federal Governmentto re-open: Seme, Ilela, Maitagari and Mfum borders would facilitate economic recovery and help the country exit recession by the projected first quarter of 2021.
Oke added that the decision would facilitate trade across ECOWAS Sub-region, thereby creating jobs and providing opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
“This will boost the operations of existing SMEs involved in the export of non-oil products across the borders to attain diversified, competitive and sustainable economy and make Nigeria’s products and services most preferred in Africa.
“Nigeria’s land borders have been closed officially since August 2019 to check indiscriminate smuggling of goods and illicit crossings into the country.
“The closures have been attributed, in part ,to the economic recession and rising inflation, which recently hit a 30-month high amid the harsh socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Other member states across the sub-region looking to access the Nigerian market will benefit from the reopening of the borders and AFCFTA’s operations, which is to take effect from January 2021″he said .
According to him, Nigeria remains a major economic player in Africa ,thus the re-opening of her borders will help protect the country’s image and affirm its commitment to trade facilitation across the sub-region.
“This will also keep us as a major economic player,” he added.
The D-G, however, called on the security agencies to shun corruption and ensure full enforcement of ban on contraband to stop the smuggling of such goods through the land borders.
He also appealed to government to intensify efforts toward the completion of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
NAN reports that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had on Dec.16 announced the immediate re-opening of four land borders after the Federal Executive Council(FEC) weekly meeting,which held virtual in Abuja.
She said that Buhari had also directed that while the borders were being reopened, the ban on the importation of rice, poultry and other products still subsists and would be implemented by the border patrol team. (NAN)