President Muhammadu Buhari says the closure of Nigerian land borders for a limited period due to massive smuggling is already yielding positive results for the economy.
The President stated this when he received a delegation from the Nigerian Association for Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
The delegation also comprised of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry and representatives of the Organised Private Sector.
Buhari said the closure was necessitated by the lack of adherence to business ideals by various stakeholders which was detrimental to the country and its people.
“After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.
“Within a few short weeks, we are already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.
“This validates our action as a Government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made-in-Africa goods and services,” he said.
Buhari says everyone must play by the rule when it comes to trade and business activities that are central to Nigeria’s economic development.
He added that his administration would ensure that the trade and business sector continues to flourish in job creation.
He urged the Association to continue its ‘‘positive and patriotic contribution’’ towards achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made-in-Africa products.
”We will soon finalise the National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. Your Association is a member of this committee.
“I expect you to continue your positive and patriotic contribution to support us in achieving a free trade area that employs Africans to produce quality made in Africa products,’’ the President said.
In her remarks, Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, President FEWACCI, NACCIMA and OPS, commended the recent decision by the President to constitute a new economic team to steer the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.
On the Economic Advisory Council, she said: “NACCIMA, FEWACCI and, indeed, the OPS, are full of hope that a new era is on the horizon with the calibre of persons on the team which reassures us at the OPS that Government is ready to turn around the story of Nigeria.”