The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has urged the Nigerian Government to inaugurate a committee to look into the seizure of legitimate goods and containers by Customs during the border closure.
This was disclosed by NANTS President, Dr Ken Ukaoha, in an interview on Tuesday in Abuja. Ukaoha warned that most of the seized goods could have expired by now as over 70% of the seized goods were agro products, especially those that were bound for export.
NANTS said Nigerian traders had legitimate goods valued at billions with expiry dates seized alongside smuggled goods when Nigeria shut its land borders in August 2019.
They added that goods valued at N240 billion were seized, while goods valued at N600 billion were in Benin Republic, citing that well over 1000 trucks were still stranded at the borders.
- “On the goods that were stranded since Aug. 20, 2019 when the borders were shut down, we are sadly noting and perhaps calling on government to see ways of looking into some of the recommendations that we made. That government should come up with a committee that will document in a proper manner the list of goods and items and the containers (vessels) as well as haulage vehicles carrying those goods that have been stranded since the border was closed.
- “The committee should also document the number and the names of those vehicles, true owners of those wares and commodities seized, then the appropriate locations. These documentations will help us and everyone to see transparency and help government, so that everybody will see how transparent the government is in her dealings.
- “The reason we are seeking for this proper documentation is that there is need for government to consider the owners of goods that were stranded, especially where these goods are genuine goods under genuine transactions.”
Ukaoha mentioned that the Mfun Border in Cross River which was declared open recently has not been fully operational, as operations in other ports have not picked up operations yet.
He added that most traders and manufacturers took loans to conduct Business and NANTS wants to know how government will come in to assist and compensate them.
- “Out of the borders that were shut down, four had been ordered to be reopened by the President. But sadly for us, out of the four, Mfun border in Cross River is still not fully opened to the public, and the other ones are still partially opened. Our members in Mfun informed us that the border officials, immigration essentially, complained that they were yet to receive signals from their headquarters. So, that place remains shut down.
- “The two in the Northern axis and the one in Seme have partial opened in the sense that activities have not picked up and movement of goods and services have not been lifted the way they used to be. But we are hoping and believing that perhaps preparations are in top gear.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in October 2019, that the Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria ordered the complete closure of Nigeria’s borders, placing a ban on both legitimate and illegitimate movement of goods in and out of the country.
- President Muhammadu Buhari, 2 weeks ago, ordered the immediate reopening of four of Nigeria’s land borders, over a year after they were all shut.
- CSL Stockbrokers told Nairametrics that “the last GDP numbers announced also showed a contraction of the trade sector (down 12.1% y/y). We note the steep contraction in the trade sector GDP is reflective of not only covid-19 related pressures but also adverse trade policies such as closure of land borders.”