AN appeal has been made to the federal government to rethink its stand on the border closure now in its third month. The appeal was made by a former Director-General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA), Dr John Isemede.
According to him, the country is breaching certain ECOWAS protocol and trade rules and conventions which were not followed before the closure. He warned that businesses can run into serious problems as a result of not being able to bring in their raw materials for production.
Isemede, a one- time Export Manger of Dangote Group and Unilever doubted the taunted gains from the closed borders, especially as related to the rice importation, arguing that no rice farmer has come up to confirm how much he got from the bank and the terms of repayment. He said though sometimes some farmers speak, but that cannot be used as a basis for the success of closing the border and banning foreign rice.
He said: “We are hearing from farmers and not processors. It is possible that what we are seeing is generic rice; it’s possible that they are imported rice. We want the companies producing the sacks to be made public and the company’s producing the local rice known.”
Furthermore he stated that if the government is sure that the border is closed because of smuggling from other countries he wondered how those goods find themselves inside our markets and all over the country.
He stressed that no foreigner can come into the country and start distributing smuggled goods across the country. He therefore asked the authorities to check the officials shouldered with the responsibility of ensuring that the borders are not violated and trade rules abused.