The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) says the Federal Government’s decision to reopen four of the country’s land borders is an important and strategic move that will help Nigeria exit recession by the first quarter of 2021.
Saratu Iya Aliyu, national president of NACCIMA, in a statement made available to BusinessDay, said over time the association has called on the Federal Government several times to reopen the borders.
Aliyu said the reasons include the negative impact the border closure has had on the economy since August 2019, and the drastic impact it had on trade and availability of goods.
Recall that Nigeria closed its land borders in August 2019 to check smuggling, especially of rice and weapons. But President Muhammadu Buhari, at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, directed the immediate re-opening of four land borders – Seme, Illela, Maigatari and Mfun – after many months of agitation from several quarters.
“The decision by the Federal Government to reopen four of our land borders at Ilela, Maitagari, Seme and Mfum, with immediate effect is a most welcome development,” Aliyu said.
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“As a major economic player in the West African sub-region, this decision will surely help our image and commitment to remain a major economic player in the sub-region. In addition, trade across our land borders which is an important component of our inter-country trade will help boost operations of our SMEs engaged in export of non-oil products through the land borders,” she said.
The NACCIMA president also called for the reopening of all the other land borders in order to effectively and evenly revive economic and trade activities disrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“As we look forward to year 2021, we sincerely hope for the full opening of all our land borders, which will have the desired effect in our concerted efforts to rebuild and reposition the economy, which was greatly affected by COVID-19 among other challenges this year,” she said.
Aliyu also mentioned that it is a clear signal of the country’s readiness to effectively trade under the upcoming African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will commence in January 2021.
She urged all security agencies to also ensure effective border patrol and also heighten security procedures to avoid the influx of products that are still placed under ban by the government.