By Industrial Digest
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called on the federal government to rather than being selective in the approval for operation, all manufacturers should be granted access to operation via the land borders.
The government is reported to have recently granted border access to some companies in the cement and food subsectors – Dangote Cement, BUA, Flour Mills of Nigeria, etc.
The Association with more than 3000 member companies also tabled five -action plans to the government to implement for reopening of the country’s closed land border ahead of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which kicks off in January 2021.
“The challenge occasioned by the land border closure is detrimental to many manufacturers and not just a handful,” said
Engr. Mansur Ahmed, the President of MAN.
He said that MAN strongly recommends that the prevailing situation about the closure of Nigeria’s land borders should be reconsidered.
It is now one year since the government closed its land borders for clearly justifiable reasons – the flagrant disregard for international, political, and economic protocols by our neighboring countries which needed to be addressed.
Thus far, we believe that progress has been made on the issue.
MAN, therefore, recommends the following as possible solutions while the directive of land border closure is being lifted:
“1. Establish joint border patrols with neighboring countries involving police, customs, immigration, navy and state security services of the countries;
2. Invest in new technology that will improve accountability and transparency and enhance efficiency in the operations of customs services;
3. Strengthen the coordination among the regulatory agencies to ensure that they share trade information and timely review of trade policies;
4. Diplomatically engage the Government of Niger and the Benin Republic on trade data sharing and ensure that containers in transit to Nigeria are not offloaded into trucks and smuggled into Nigeria;
5. Establish a clear and enforceable legal and regulatory framework with stiffer penalties to deter potential offenders.”
Losers and gainers of land border closure
Since the closure, the Association has researched with its members, the outcome is that some sectors had a considerable increase in their productivity, while some sectors recorded a sharp decline.
In particular, the Export Group of the Association suffered huge losses due to logistics issues occasioned by the closure as it takes an average of 8weeks for the carriers to ship and truck goods within countries in the same region vis-à-vis trucking through the land border, which takes an average of 7-10days.
Furthermore, the increased traffic through our sea Port as a result of the closure has increased the perennial congestion at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports leading to greater challenges to exporters and increased demurrages cost and other Port levies.
Some manufacturers who export to neighboring African countries had to close down their export segments due to the border closure which discouraged long-term investments and affected the economy.
The implications of these are that manufacturers in Nigeria have continued to lose and are still losing market share on daily basis in the West African corridor as the export of manufacturers’ products has now become overly less competitive.