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Border closure inconsistent with FG’s ease of doing business campaign— MANEG

The Chairman, MAN Export Promotion Group (MANEG), Ede Dafinone has raised an issue of national urgency, saying the indefinite closure of land borders is frustrating struggling local manufacturers involved in exports along the ECOWAS market.

While stressing that the policy is inconsistent with the Federal Government’s ease of doing business drive, he expressed concerns over the huge losses being recorded on a daily basis, as unsold inventory kept rising.

In an interview with Business Hilights in Lagos weekend, MANEG boss revealed that “Due to the current border situation, many companies are in dire problems and due to the significant losses incurred since August 21 the border was shut, many businesses are about to collapse which will translate to job loss.

Dafinone averred further that “There are companies who rely on the west African market for additional sales to make profits, while some manufacture locally in Nigeria for export, but have had their warehouses filled with unsold inventory.

“There are companies in all sorts of dire problems. Some companies that manufacture here have 100 per cent of their products meant for exports. How are they going to survive two months of border closure? They will make significant losses and the business would collapse. They will still pay interest on loans, pay their staff for this period when they are not selling anything.

“The best alternative means is the sea link that has been mentioned over the years, but that ship going across the coast is yet to be launched and we are waiting for that as an alternative, but even at that it is still expensive, but going forward, it is the only alternative.”

However, while commending the Federal Government for the payment of Export Expansion Grant (EEG) for the 2017 applications which is yet to be paid in full, he queried the essence of the payments when borders through which produced goods would be exported remained shut.

He said the use of the Export Credit Certificate (ECC) as payment for EEG has been expanded to allow for alternative use of the certificate, urging agencies like the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), to buy in.