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Inflationary trend may force FG to open borders sooner than planned

Following its admittance that the border closure regime is responsible for the observed hyper inflationary trend currently rocking the fragile economy, indications are rife that the Federal Government may be left with no other option than to fast track diplomatic discussions that will lead to the reopening of the borders.

Recall that the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), unilaterally closed all land borders on August 21, 2019, first under the pretext of joint drill with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).

However, on nearing the given one month period for the closure, the Federal Government started changing the border closure narrative, saying it will stay longer considering the gains in ending rice and fuel smuggling.

But feelers from the recent figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the headline inflation stood at 11.61 per cent as of October, one month after the closure up from what it was in August.

According to the Minister of Finance/Budget /National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the hyper inflation is due to hikes in food prices arising from border closure.

Responding to questions from journalists after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Ahmed noted that “The closure of the borders was a temporary measure adopted by the government to protect the economy against trade malpractices by neighbouring countries.”

“We are still discussing with our neighbours to ensure that we all respect our trade protocols, especially now that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement is coming into effect.”

Apart from rising prices of essential materials, many companies had been cutting down their production schedules due to inability to access the massive ECOWAS market following the closure of the border.