The governor of Nigeria’s central bank Godwin Emefiele Monday said Nigeria’s land borders will remain shut until the country’s neighbours agree to implement mutual anti-smuggling policies.
“Before the borders are reopened, there must be concrete engagements with countries that are involved in using their ports and countries as landing ports for bringing in goods that are smuggling into Nigeria,” Emefiele said in Abuja shortly after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said since the borders were closed in August, Nigerian rice and poultry farmers have enjoyed increased patronage, which was before now hampered by illegal importation and smuggling of the items into the country.
Emefiele said the development had negatively affected Nigeria’s economy, adding that the government was determined to keep the borders closed until all engagements in connection with the issues were concluded with the neighbouring countries to have them halt the use of their ports as launch pads for smuggling items into Nigeria.
Emefiele also listed the benefits of the border closure.
He explained that: “In November 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari, the Central Bank, and some state governors went to Kebbi State to launch the Wet Season Rice Farming. Since then, we have seen an astronomical growth in the number of farmers who have been going into rice farming and our paddy production has gone up also quite exponentially.
“So when you asked, what is the benefit, the benefit of the border closure on the economy of Nigeria, I just used two products – poultry and rice. The benefit is that it has helped to create jobs for our people, it has helped to bring the integrated rice milling that we have in the country back into business again and they are making money.
“Our rural communities are bubbling because there are activities, as rice farmers are able to sell their paddy. The poultry business is also doing well, and also maize farmers who produce maize from which feeds are produced are also doing business. These are the benefits.