The Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has said that the gains of the land border closure far surpass the disadvantages which have been on the increase since the initiative was implemented.
President, Rice Millers Association of Nigeria and the Managing Director of Elephant Group, Tunji Owoeye, asserted this on Monday, December 6, 2020, while defending the directive.
Owoeye said irrespective of how people view the border closure, its advantages have been enormous compared to the pains experienced since President Muhammadu Buhari gave the directive.
Owoeye said these gains are being experienced in rice and other commodities sectors, as it spreads across.
“From our understanding, the government is not saying that they should not bring goods into Nigeria, but the government has decided that over 1,800 porous routes that they smuggle goods into the country should be properly manned.
“What the government is saying is that they are not preventing them from bringing goods into Nigeria, but they should go through the seaports or the airports where we can effectively manage the process. So I do not think there is anything bad in closing the border,” he said.
He also stated that the border closure has dealt, to some extent, with the smuggling problem Nigeria faces, adding that the directive has improved the security around the border.
Continuing, Owoeye said the closure has led to job opportunities, increasing the employment numbers through agricultural growth.
“Much more employment is being generated in the agricultural sector. In the poultry sector alone, more youths are being attracted to it, not to talk about other agricultural sub-sectors and their value chains. This has made farming more attractive and if it continues, Nigeria would not only become self-sufficient in food production, we will start exporting,” Owoeye said.
Although one cannot overstate the advantages that come with the directive, it has also led to higher inflation and an increase in food prices, which has greatly affected the purchasing power of Nigerians, a situation that had led many to knock the Federal Government over the directive.
What is your take on border closure, Do you think it’s an initiative needed to grow Nigeria’s economy or another misplaced priority of the Federal Government?