By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture has said the recent closure of the country’s borders “is in order and long overdue”.
NACCIMA also maintained that the federal government should resist any pressure from any quarters for the reopening of the borders.
Speaking to newsmen in Minna on Wednesday, the Director General of the Association in Niger State, Alhaji Adamu Salihu, however asked the federal government to seize the opportunity created by the closure to reform the nation’s ports.
“The closure of the borders is a welcome development, it has been long overdue. We should seize this opportunity to reform our ports.
“We should eradicate human rats in the ports and make the ports safer,” he said.
Salihu also tasked the federal government to, while the borders remain closed, put structures in place so that imported goods will be received in good order, insisting that “if we make this effort and no reforms in the ports, it will amount to wasted efforts, time and money”.
“This is a good policy. All they need to do is that in the short run the structures should be put in place to avoid any backlash,” he said.
The Director General also charged the government to fix the Onne and Warri ports so that “people in that axis will use the ports instead of everyone coming to Lagos”.
When reminded that despite the closure of the borders smuggling has continued to thrive, Salihu declared: “There is no economy that can stop smuggling. Smuggling is part of life what we have to do is to reduce it to the barest minimum”.
He observed that neighbouring countries pleading for the opening of the borders are only trying to “feather their own nests, we should ignore them.”
Commenting on the dilapidation of most roads in the country, the Director General advised the federal government to partner with reputable construction companies in the country for the construction and maintenance of the roads under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, saying that the firms should be allowed to toll these roads and recoup their investment in a period of not less than 25 years.
Salihu applauded the agreement reached between government and organised labour in the country on the implementation of the new minimum wage saying the chamber is convinced all tiers of government can pay the new wage because many ghost names have been expunged from the salary vouchers leading to a lot of savings.