Freight forwarders under the aegis of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents have tasked the Federal Government to re-open the border in order to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area
Nigeria had closed all its land borders, which shares boundaries with Benin, Niger and Cameroon in August last year, to the movement of goods in order to tackle smuggling.
ANLCA reminded the Federal Government that the AfCFTA regime which hopes to take effect from January 2021, will place Nigerian businesses people at a disadvantage if the nation’s land borders remained closed to trade.
In a statement titled, “ANLCA secures assurances of border reopening, non-interference of NASS in cargo clearing,” it asked the government to effect gradual reopening of the closed borders.
The statement signed by the National President, Iju Nwabunike on November 16th also appealed to lawmakers to stop interfering in cargo clearing.
Part of the statement read thus, “In a similar vein, the association also interacted with ranking members of the Senate over allegations of National Assembly members interference in cargo clearing.
“After closed-door interactions, it was mutually agreed between ANLCA and members of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise that it negates due process for lawmakers to be involved in cargo clearing.
“Chairman of the committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena gave his words that all cargo clearance hitherto stalled with shipping companies due to the committee’s activities and correspondence will be allowed to be processed in line with extant regulations.”
Similarly, the freight forwarders lamented the loss of 10,000 jobs, as well as N130bn belonging to businesses as a result of the year-long border closure.
It advised the Nigeria Customs Service to allow microchip shoot on every container along the Economic Community of West African States route into the country in line with international best practices.