The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported Nigeria’s closure of its land borders because it understood that the action was not punitive.
Addressing journalists in Washington yesterday, Ahmed explained that the measure was intended to restore Nigeria’s relationship with its neighbours, based on commitments made.
She said that President Muhammadu Buhari did not want to approve the closure because he was mindful of the adverse effect it would have on the economies of neighbours.
According to her, there were several engagements between Nigeria and the neighbouring countries toward securing compliance to the rules, “but things got worse”.
“Of course, there will be economic impact on the side of our neighbours due to the border closure, that is a consequence of it.
“In a manner of speaking, IMF supports the border closure that we have done because they understand that the closure was not meant to be punitive.
“It was meant for us to restore our relationship with our neighbours back to the commitments that we made.
“The commitment that we have among these countries is that goods can come through their ports to Nigeria.
“They are supposed to come in sealed containers escorted to Nigeria for the Nigeria Customs Service to inspect the goods and charge them.
“But that is not what is happening. They allow containers to be opened, and also allow goods to be smuggled beyond the formal borders through several illegal routes,’’ she explained.