Border closure yielding results, Buhari tells NACCIMA


John Ameh, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday defended the partial closure of some of the country’s land borders, saying the Federal Government’s action had yielded positive results.

 The President, who spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during a meeting with a delegation from the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture; Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry; and representatives of the Organised Private Sector, also called on business owners in the country to play by the rules in all their engagements.

 Recall that the borders, especially Nigeria-Benin, had been partially shut, owing to massive smuggling of food items like rice.

 Defending the decision, the President said, ‘’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 must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made in Africa goods and services.”

 Buhari added that his administration was determined to create more jobs by encouraging more businesses to thrive and trading to flourish.

 However, he noted that in doing so, the first expectation on the part of operators was to play by the rules.

 In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, after the meeting, Buhari was quoted further as saying, ‘’Unfortunately, in recent times, many traders simply do not play by the rules.

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‘’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.”

 He added, ‘’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 fire in homes and markets thereby destroying lives and properties.

 ‘’Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders.”

 The President of FEWACCI, NACCIMA and OPS, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, hailed Buhari’s decision to set up Economic Advisory Council to boost the economy on.

She said, ‘’NACCIMA, FEWACCI and indeed the OPS are full of hope that a new era is on the horizon with the calibre of persons on the team which reassures us at the OPS that government is ready to turn around the story of Nigeria.’’

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