NESG charges Buhari to take “expedite actions” concerning land borders

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The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has charged the Nigerian Government to hasten plans of reopening closed land borders.

Nigerian Government had attributed the closure of borders to security reasons as well as to suppress smuggling of petroleum products and for security reasons.

The group however, in a statement titled “Matters of Urgency” said “expedite actions” should be taken on the “closed borders given its negative impact on trade and employment.”

The group said “It must be noted that our work in ECOWAS should not be limited to security and diplomacy, but must also effectively harness trade opportunities within the sub-region.

“We also call on the government to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), so that we can move to full membership status and take our rightful place in subsequent negotiation rounds.”

Recall that in August 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari unexpectedly closed Nigeria’s borders to imported rice with the declaration that it was time to put an end to excessive smuggling.

Weeks later, the Nigerian Government further announced a severe measure by closing its land border to movement of all goods.

The development did not go well with citizens as well as officials of neighbouring countries who emphasized that the border closures go against all commercial and freedom of movement treaties signed under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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The measure led to the rise in the prices of food items and spiked inflation.

NESG is of the opinion that once the AfCFTA is finally implemented the country “will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of African and West African free trade.

“This will also enable fair competition, competent institutions, efficiency and transparency in our processes.”

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