By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government of Nigeria has given certain conditions that fellow members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must fullfil before the nation’s land borders can be reopened.
In August 2019, the Nigerian authorities shut down all its land borders as part of its determination to curb smuggling. Since this step was taken, Nigeria has come under heavy criticisms and complaints from importers, investors and some of the neighboring countries, who argued that the move was too abrupt.
On Monday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, during the meeting of inter-ministerial committee on the temporary partial closure of land borders held in Abuja, listed that certain conditions must be met before a rethink can be considered.
He said, “Any import coming from outside an ECOWAS region and imported into an ECOWAS member state must maintain its original packaging.
“They must be escorted from the port directly to the designated entry point in the Nigerian border, presented to the Nigerian customs with their original packaging. Compromises will not be tolerated.
“Goods produced predominantly in ECOWAS member states must satisfy the ECOWAS rules of origin to avoid any possibility of downplay.
“Goods must be majorly produced in ECOWAS countries.
“If the goods are coming from outside ECOWAS, the value addition must be over 30 percent for it to be accepted within the framework of the Economic Trade Liberalisation Scheme that ECOWAS countries have to promote trade among them.
“All warehouses along the shared borders of Nigeria must be dismantled.
“Goods being transported must be put in proper recognized packaging. No longer will we have goods of all shapes and sizes going through the borders. To maintain the best practices of those goods, an accepted condition for packaging will be established.
“In regards to free movements of persons, all persons moving through Nigerian borders must present themselves through recognized entry points and must have recognized travel documents (country passport).”
The minister then added that a tripartite meeting with bordered countries will hold in a fortnight to discuss mode of implementation of these conditions.
Within the next two weeks, a tripartite committee is to be convened and hosted here in Nigeria comprising a delegation, a committee of Benin Republic, from Niger, and from Nigeria.
“Each country will come with the heads of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Finance, the Customs, Immigration and NIA, the security segment.” he said.
Mr Onyeama said the President Buhari led administration wanted the issue resolved as quickly as possible.
Business Post understands that prices of commodities have increased following the decision of the government to close the borders.
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