President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the decision to close Nigeria’s borders for a limited time has begun to yield positive results.
He said this while receiving representatives from the Nigerian Association for Chamber and Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Federation of West African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI) and the Organised Private Sector (OPS), at the State House in Abuja.
President Buhari said that the action to close the land borders of Nigeria was birth out of the need to bring to an immediate end, the menace of smuggling which was getting out of control.
According to the President, “After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.
“Within a few short weeks, we are already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.
“This validates our action as a Government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) must not only promote free trade but legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services,” Buhari said.
He noted that the problem of smuggling had fostered the circulation of substandard products in the country and according to him, it has gone beyond just food produce to as far as electrical appliances.
“Unfortunately, in recent times, many traders simply do not play by the rules. Our markets are flooded with smuggled and counterfeit goods. By these selfish practices, we help keep foreign factories working while closing ours.
“From medicines to electronics to food items, our potential to manufacture and create jobs locally is severely hindered by a handful of Nigerians who choose profits over patriotism.
“We have all heard stories about the dangerous and sometimes, fatal impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens. We have also seen how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets thereby destroying lives and properties. Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders,” the president said.
He urged the associations to continue its “positive and patriotic contribution” towards the achievement of a free trade area that engages and encourages Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.
He said, “We will soon finalise the National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. I expect you to continue your positive and patriotic contribution to support us in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products.”