The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), on Tuesday, extended his appeal to stakeholders in the business community on the border closure policy, saying the policy measure is aimed at stimulating economic growth and improved security.
Ali, who made the appeal in a keynote address with the topic: “Impact of Border Closure on the Nigerian Economy”, at a symposium organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), with the support of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), in Lagos, said the implementation of the policy had impacted positively on the nation’s economy.
He expressed the Customs Service’ appreciation to all stakeholders for their understanding over the border closure in the past few months, assuring that the service would continue to count on the support of Nigerians in its sustained effort to ensure that the objectives of the initiative were achieved.
While recalling the circumstances that led government to close the borders after several efforts to make Nigeria’s neighbouring countries help mitigate the impact of smuggled goods and small arms into the country failed, listed the reduced rate of smuggled rice, as well as revenue collection upsurge as some of the benefits of the policy to the economy.
He said: “The partial border closure has so far curbed the smuggling of foreign rice into the country, in addition to prohibited items. Our series of interactions and engagements with the National Rice Millers Association of Nigeria (NRMAN) since the commencement of this exercise has shown that the border closure has impacted positively on that sector.
“On revenue generation, the NCS’ daily revenue collection before the border closure ranged between N4 to N5bn, now the NCS collects between N5 to N6bn daily…at the nation’s seaports. This will in turn be used to build more infrastructure and develop critical sectors of the nation’s economy.”
On the need for the business community’s support in order to consolidate on the gains of the policy measure, Ali promised that the NCS would “continue to seek the support of all and sundry, including the ever dependable media to ensure that the desired objectives of this exercise, which is to promote a secured, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, is optimally achieved.”
He added that, “While we call on all Nigerians to be patriotic by patronising Nigerian made goods and agro-products, this will help the country in reaching self-sufficiency in local food production, create job opportunities and boost our economy.”
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