Buhari restates conditions for reopening of borders
Assures of completion of ports access roads in 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, restated that the shut land borders will be reopened as soon as government is satisfied with safety and compliance measures expected from the ongoing joint security exercise.
Buhari, in his New Year message to Nigerians, said the joint land border security exercise currently taking place is meant to safeguard Nigeria’s economy and citizens.
Meanwhile, he assured that all the 47 road projects, including those leading to the seaports would be completed this year.“No one can doubt that we have been good neighbours and good citizens. We have been the helpers and shock-absorbers of the sub-region, but we cannot allow our well-planned economic regeneration plans to be sabotaged. As soon as we are satisfied that the safeguards are adequate, normal cross-border movements will be resumed.
“As Commander-in-Chief, my primary concern is the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens. When I assumed office in May 2015 my first task was to rally our neighbours so that we could confront Boko Haram on a coordinated regional basis. Chaos is not a neighbour any of us hope for.
“We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy. But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets,” he said. Borders in four geopolitical zones of the country have been partially closed since August 20, 2019, leaving import and transit goods trapped.
The president, however, noted that policy has helped to increase patronage for made in Nigeria goods, while agriculture is receiving great attention.
“As we have sat down to celebrate with friends and family over this holiday season, for the first time in a generation our food plates have not all been filled with imports of products we know can easily be produced here at home. The revolution in agriculture is already a reality in all corners of the country,” he said.He disclosed that the Federal Government is sealing new agreements with Morocco, Russia and others, which would help the nation access on attractive terms the inputs it needed to accelerate the transformation in farming that is taking place.
“While we look to create new opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and other long neglected sectors in 2020, we will also realise increased value from oil and gas, delivering a more competitive, attractive and profitable industry, operating on commercial principles and free from political interference.
“Just last week, we were able to approve a fair framework for the $10 billion expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, which will increase exports by 35 percent, restore our position as a world leader in the sector and create thousands of jobs.”
“The Amendment of the Deep Offshore Act in October signaled our intention to create a modern, forward-looking industry in Nigeria. I am confident that in 2020 we will be able to present a radical programme of reform for oil and gas that will excite investors, improve governance and strengthen protections for host communities and the environment,” he stated.He also expressed hope that the pace of change in technology would accelerate in the decade ahead, adding: “Coupled with our young and vibrant population, this offers huge opportunities if we are able to harness the most productive trends and tame some of the wilder elements. This is a delicate balance with which many countries are struggling.
“We are seeking an informed and mature debate that reflects our rights and responsibilities as citizens in shaping the boundaries of how best to allow technology to benefit Nigeria.”Buhari assures that government policies are working and the results would continue to show themselves more clearly by the day, urging investors to tap into the opportunities.
“Nigeria is the most tremendous, can-do market, offering extraordinary opportunities and returns. Investors can look forward with confidence not only to an increasing momentum of change but also to specific incentives, including our new visa-on-arrival policy,” he said.
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