Capt. Tony Onoharigho, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS), disclosed that the reopening of the nation’s land borders would drive the movement of more goods into the country, which would increase their affordability in markets.
He made the disclosure in Lagos today, the 17th of November 2020, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Yesterday, Nairametrics reported that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the immediate opening of four land borders: Seme, Illela, Maigatari, and Mfun; 16 months after the FG ordered the partial closure of the borders to curb smuggling of goods and weapons.
It is noteworthy that during this timeframe, the prices of food items and other commodities have skyrocketed in the markets, while the foreign exchange value of the Nigerian currency “Naira” has depreciated substantially.
Captain Onoharigho disclosed that the reopening of the nation’s land borders would facilitate the free flow and movement of goods into the country, and in turn increase the market turnover and money in circulation.
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What they are saying
Capt. Onoharigho said the opening of the borders was the right step to take, having been closed longer than expected. He said:
- “The opening of the border will be of benefit to the people of the south-west and south-south because the goods that will be coming in now will increase the market turnover and money in circulation. And when the goods flood the market, it will have a good effect on prices as it will come down and people will be able to afford them, because things have been very difficult in the country since the government closed the borders.”
Dr Segun Musa, Deputy National President, Air Logistics, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), also said the reopening is a welcomed news.
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- “Some people had been adversely affected by the closure of the borders; however, the reopening would see them picking up and strengthening their businesses. I believe that the opening of the border has to do with the commencement of the AfCFTA, so that Nigeria will not be excluded in the trade agreement and this is a welcome development.”
Mr Usen Umor, Treasurer of MAN for Cross River and Akwa Ibom, who is also the General Manager of Royal Farms in Cross River, maintained that with the reopening of the borders, goods would now move freely, especially for the manufacturers exporting through the West African coast. He said:
- “With the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting down the borders did not help us as products that should have been moved across the borders to boost the nation’s economy and put money in the hands of manufacturers were halted. So, in the first place, I don’t see the need for border closure, because the expected benefits have not manifested. However, with the recent reopening of the borders, businesses will be fine, as people will move in their goods and sell, and also produce and sell by having access to the markets that they used to patronise.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported on August 29 2019, the partial closure of the Nigeria-Benin border, popularly known as the Seme border. This was a move by President Buhari to restrict the illegal importation of rice and order commodities into Nigeria.
- Nairametrics also reported on October 14 2019, that the Federal Government of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of Nigeria’s borders; thus, enforcing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country, a move the Presidency claimed was borne out of the need to curtail the smuggling and illegal importation of drugs, arms, food, agricultural produce and other commodities into the country.