…As Hassan Bello tells stakeholders: ‘No pains, No gains!’***
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello on Friday lauded the Federal Government on the current partial closure of the land borders, stressing that the neighbours, under the guise of calling the country the “big Brother”, have virtually turned Nigeria into a dumping ground.
Hassan Bello stated this during his meeting with Stakeholders to discuss the issue of border closure and other related matters, noting that the situation may not change immediately.
He therefore tasked stakeholders to come up with strategies and solutions to enable enjoy an optimal benefit, because the country cannot continue to depend on imports, but must build its own factories and export.
“The NSC is in support of the border closure even though it is affecting almost every section of the Nigerian economy because I believe that no pain, no gain” he said.
He lauded the Government’s aim on the border closure, which he maintained was to provide employment for the citizens, in furtherance of his statutory functions expected of her.
Barrister Hassan Bello in a closing remark, stated: “while the border are closed temporarily , other structures such as security must be put in place, so that we can move forward, as the decay in infrastructure is already affecting the efficiency of the Ports, in performing as expected”, emphasizing that it is everybody’s responsibility to make sure the economy grows and that Nigeria gets her fair share in the International trade.
The Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Prince Collins Farinto however said he was concerned about the increase in the level of importation due to the border closure, more especially as Christmas is approaching.
He also expressed concerned about the inaccessibility of the ports stating that this would have a negative effect on the economy; and enjoined Government to give incentives to local producers of Rice, while encouraging Nigerians to be patriotic, by embracing our locally produced rice which is affordable.
“I am urging the Nigeria Customs Service to review its mode of operation and also the Government to review its Auto policy thereby making neighboring countries less attractive to Nigerians”, he said.
He further advised that the rehabilitation of roads should be at a fast pace and that there should be interconnectivity in the area of transportation, while indicating an opinion that a port development policy should be put in place, which will make future plans on transportation and other related issues achievable.
Other Stakeholders spoke about the issue of illicit trade, saying the country is opened to unsolicited, unguided, non- controlled immigration.
Otunba Kunle Folarin specifically called attention to the fact that border closure goes beyond the importation of vehicles and others things, and raised the issues of non-conformity to protocols of the ECOWAS treaty.
He advised on the need to ensure a proactive action plan where Nigeria, the NCS and other stakeholders will aim at controlling the revenue generation, Immigration, Cargo traffic, and Ship traffic etc.
The representatives of the Nigeria Custom Service in their contribution noted that while there are transit procedures, these procedures are not frequently followed by the nation’s neighboring countries.
The NCS representative also talks about connectivity with Benin republic that is ongoing and at an advanced stage, and advised Importers to do the right thing and comply to the rules and regulations, adding that the porosity of our border was not a justification for to take the law into their hands.
He assured Nigerians of the Service commitment alongside other security agencies, pleading with the citizens to support the Federal in order to move Nigeria up.