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Import revenue rise by 15% after border closure

The Federal Government has said since the border closure, the monthly import revenue has increased by 15%, instead of dropping as predicted in many quarters.…

The Federal Government has said since the border closure, the monthly import revenue has increased by 15%, instead of dropping as predicted in many quarters.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he visited the Seme Border on Monday, along with other colleagues.

In a statement, Mohammed said the border closure has curbed smuggling of foreign rice and other prohibited items. He also said local consumption of fuel has dropped by 30%, due to reduced smuggling of the products to neighbouring countries.

‘‘There has been an enhanced production and milling of Nigerian rice. Patronage of Nigerian rice has also increased and farmers are expanding their farms as well as engaging more hands,’’ he said.

He said the value of items seized since the closure is over N3.5 million listing such items to include 38,743 of 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice, 514 vehicles, 1,012 drums filled with PMS, 5,400 Jerrycans of vegetable oil, 346 motorcycles, 10,553 Jerrycans of PMS and 136 bags of NPK fertilizer used for making explosives.

He also said 296 illegal immigrants have been arrested adding that ‘’It is important to note that 95 percent of illicit drugs and weapons that are being used for acts of terrorism and kidnapping in Nigeria today come in through our porous borders. However, since this partial closure, these acts have been drastically reduced.”

The minister also said that Benin and Niger Republics are not yet doing enough to ameliorate the challenges that led to the border closure.

‘‘As we speak, we have ships loaded with rice waiting to discharge (in Benin) and the target market is Nigeria (for Christmas). We have (MV Africana Jacana with 40,000 metric tons of rice, MV Zilos with 20,000 mts and MV Sam Jarguar with 45,000 MTS and others,’’ he said.

He also said the border closure would not have occurred if Nigeria’s neighbours had complied with the various MOUs as well as the ECOWAS transit protocols, including the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS).