Nigeria to reopen border under strict compliance with ECOWAS trade agreement – FG

The Nigeria government has disclosed that the reopening of the country’s land borders would be based on strict compliance with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) regional trade protocol agreements.

According to Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment while speaking to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, the opening of the borders would depend largely on the recommendations from the patrol team set up to monitor compliance with trade protocols. The patrol team comprises relevant security agencies in an exercise codenamed, Operation Exercise Swift Response.

Though the closure of the country’s land borders by the Nigerian government has been heavily criticized in some quarters as some felt that the actions of the government is against the idea of the recently-signed, African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA), no date had been fixed for the reopening, according to the minister.

 “We had a strategic meeting with the three countries, and what we agreed with our neighbours is to activate a joint border patrol, and the border patrol comprises the Customs, all the security agencies and ensure to try to follow the actual protocol laid by ECOWAS. 

“The committee met on November 25, and it is only when that committee is certain that all the countries are respecting the ECOWAS protocol that they will recommend a day for the opening of the border,” Katagum said.

Meanwhile, also speaking to newsmen was the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, who disclosed that the government was working on a review of Nigeria’s trade policy as well as the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, to represent current economic realities, Guardian reported.

“We are now looking at the automotive policy review, a meeting would be held with stakeholders in the auto sector on January 28, to get their input at the meeting too. The Executive would present a bill to the National Assembly for the policy to become law.

 “We are still desirous of creating these zones. However, we are trying to be diligent to avoid pitfalls. A lot is going on about Economic zones.”

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