Perpetual close border negates AfCFTA, says NESG
Oshiomhole, Vietnam differ on policy
The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has said the country cannot close her borders perpetually, as the move negates the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) recently signed by the country.
NESG stressed that the closure was against the interest of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which promotes the free movement of goods and services.
Speaking at the launch of its documentary entitled ‘In The National Interest’ and coffee table photo book in Lagos yesterday, Chief Executive Officer, NESG, ’Laoye Jaiyeola, said Nigeria needed to invest in her people and the economy to fast-track development.
According to Jaiyeola, NESG believes in a free market economy, which is important for the transformation of the Nigerian economy into a modern and globally competitive one.
He said: “Our nation should not be made a dumping ground. Whatever we are doing, we should do it quickly. The border closure is not in the long run interest of Nigeria. If we say it’s because of security challenges, let’s address it and go back to grow the economy as a nation.”
He stressed the need for Nigerians to form a strong coalition to enable government deliver on its promises while providing quality infrastructure to enable private businesses thrive.
Government needs to create value for its expenditure; if this done, there is no need for borrowing, he asserted.
Jaiyeola said Nigeria’s population doubles every 30 years and that there was the need to double infrastructural, social and human capital development to meet up with population growth.
The event was released as part of activities for the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES).
Member of the NESG board, Udeme Ufot, had earlier in his welcome remarks revealed that the group was releasing the documentary and photo book to document the activities of the NESG over the years.
But the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday threw his weight behind the closure of the country’s borders.
Speaking after he met with the Deputy Prime Minister of the Vietnam, Vuong Ding Hue, he maintained that there was no way Nigeria would continue to leave its borders open to the detriment of the citizenry.
The APC boss insisted that the border would remain closed until Nigeria’s neighbouring countries abide by the ECOWAS law, adding that Nigeria cannot be a dumping ground for unwanted chemicals, spoilt products among others.
“Nigerians should unanimously back the decision of the Federal Government to close the borders until our neighbours decide to respect the laws of fair and free trade,” he said.
He called on Vietnam to invest in rice production in Nigeria, which blessed with arable land.
Hue, who urged Oshiomhole to prevail on the Nigerian authorities to open the borders, said they had also scheduled a meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo with view to restating the same position.
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