IMF Supports Nigeria's Border Closure- Finance Minister
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in full support of the government of Nigeria’s decision to close its land borders. This is according to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.
Zainab revealed this while addressing newsmen in Washington, saying the IMF understands that the government’s action is not “punitive.”
She said unlike as negatively viewed by many, the measure was intended to restore Nigeria’s relationship with its neighbours based on commitment made.
“In a manner of speaking, IMF supports the border closure that we have done because they understand that the closure was not meant to be punitive”, said Zainab.
“It was meant for us to restore our relationship with our neighbours back to the commitment that we made.”
“The commitment that we have within these countries is that goods can come through their ports to Nigeria, but when they come they are supposed to come in sealed containers escorted to Nigeria for the Nigeria Customs Service to open them, do their own and check (inspection) as well as charge duties.”
“But that is not what is happening. They allow containers to be opened, and also they allow goods to be smuggled beyond the formal borders through several illegal routes.’’
Additionally, the minister said there were several engagements between Nigeria and the neighbouring countries to try to secure their compliance with the rules, but things got worse.
She also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari was reluctant to approve the closure as he was mindful of the adverse effect it would have on the economies of its neighbours.
“Of course there will be economic impact on the side of our neighbours due to the border closure, that is a consequence of it.”
“But this is something the President had avoided doing since 2015. There were several engagements to try to get them to improve, but things were getting worse. So, it was just a measure that had to be taken.’’
The minister restated that Nigeria had to ensure the rules were obeyed now that it had committed to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), otherwise local industries would suffer more.
She said a lot of discussions were ongoing between Nigeria and the affected neighbouring countries to secure their recommitment to the rules governing cross-border trade.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)