President of the National Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs, Hon Tony Iju Nwabunike , has struck gold for transborder traders who have had their goods trapped at border stations after government announced the closure of Nigeria’s land borders in August last year. An elated Tony Iju Nwabunike in a statement in Lagos on Monday said he also succeeded in persuading the National Assembly to hands off the Customs duties , hiding under the cover of over sight functions .
The ANCLA boss said with Nigeria formally signing into African Continental Free Trade Area(AfCTA)agreement, it had become imperative that our land borders are opened if the country is to maximize the full potentials of AfCTA.He said ‘ following the intervention of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents , ANLCA has received the assurances for the consideration to rescind on border closure ‘.
Tony Iju Nwabunike explained that should our land borders remain closed when the AfCTA agreement takes effect in January 2021, Nigeria businessmen would remain at a serious disadvantage . He said the implications of our prolonged border closure means that Nigeria would be shut out of business with proximate countries in the West African and Central African sub region such as Benin, Togo, Ghana , Mali, Chad and Niger Republic. The group also identified the historic and strategic importance of Nigeria in Economic Community of West Africa States and that it would be suicidal for the country to take the back seat under the circumstances.
The Association, Mr Nwabunike explained, has therefore secured the assurances of the Federal Government on the need to effect the gradual reopening of the closed borders with particular focus on rules of origin to prevent abuses of the ETLS.
Mr Nwabunike regretted that no fewer than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs have been lost to the closed borders since August last year. The ANCLA boss however hopes that member countries will reciprocate this gesture by complying with extant laws in the region by subjecting all Nigeria bound goods to Customs Officials.