By Emmanuel Afonne
A Civil Society Organisation, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative has described the Federal Government’s decision to close the country’s borders as a strategic step to boost local manufacturing and steer economic activities.
The CSO particularly commended the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for giving impetus to the policy.
It would be recalled that the NIS and NCS had recently announced that Nigerian borders would remain closed until neighbouring countries comply with protocols on movement of goods and persons as established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
A statement signed by the National Coordinator, Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative, Mr Solomon Adodo, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the steps taken to put the country economy back on track.
Adodo described the strategy as “masterstroke” expected to trigger a more robust national economy.
He maintained that the move was needed to address the rising case of smuggling into Nigeria from neighbouring countries, adding that the country was losing several hundreds of millions daily on smuggling of goods through the land borders.
“It is alarming the amount of money Nigeria losses daily on account of smuggling; it is on record that the country losses average of $400m on smuggling of foreign rice alone through the land borders.
“If you juxtapose this to other items, you will better appreciate the policy. The action of the government had suddenly returned life to the rice value chain as the hitherto subdued mills had resumed operations within one week of the border closure.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had already taking the initiative by funding local production of rice and other agricultural produce.
“This proactive step taken by the apex bank has created a lot of jobs in the agricultural sector and added impetus to the national economy,” Adodo said.
The CSO further lauded the Federal Government for taking the decision to carry out surveillance on the nation’s borders, stating that Nigeria risked losing foreign exchange to smuggling if the borders were reopened.
“The transparent tempo at which the Nigerian Customs Service has raked in more revenues should be sustained.
“The sterling efforts of the Comptroller General should therefore not be reversed, we cannot continue to support the economies of neighbouring or distant countries at the detriment of local content and maximum revenue accruals,” Adodo added. (NAN)