MAN reiterates push for border re-opening as trade suffers
With the Federal Government proposing to re-open the land border, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has argued for the review of the decision, in line with the demand of the economy and the core objective of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) protocol, which is premised on liberalisation of intra-regional trade in Africa.
MAN, yesterday, noted that the Export Group of the Association had suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure, as it takes an average of eight weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region, vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of seven to 10 days.
The producers added that the increased traffic through the local seaport as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, leading to greater challenges to exporters and increased demurrage cost and other port levies.
Although the Federal Government claimed to have recorded some gains from the border closure that took effect on August 20, last year, especially in the area of rice and fuel smuggling to neighbouring countries, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and some members of the organised private sector showed that the country might actually be at the losing end.
While the closure was speculated to last 28 days, government has not given a definite timeline for the re-opening of the borders, as affected companies and exporters have had to move their goods through the sea ports, which, given the perennial congestion at Apapa, has made this a nightmare.
From rising food inflation to higher costs of logistics and loss of business to other suppliers in the global value-chain, the closure of the borders might have spurred domestic agricultural industry, but production capacity remains inadequate to meet rising food demand and raw materials.
MAN President, Mansur Ahmed, in the association’s position on the reopening of the land border closure, stated that some manufacturers who export to neighbouring African countries had to close down their export segments due to the border closure, which discouraged long-term investments and affected the economy.
MAN, however, advocated a holistic approach that would address the root cause of the problem and provide mutually reinforcing solutions, rather than a border closure that is not a sustainable solution to the challenge of trade distortions and abuse of economic protocols by neighbouring countries in the region.
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