Nigeria Employer’s Consultative Association (NECA) has expressed concerns over the announcement extending the time for border closure.
According to the Association, the government has not provided a palliative for the legitimate local businesses.
In a statement by it’s Director-General,Mr. Timothy Olawale, on Monday in Abuja, NECA stressed that the policy was focused more on income generation and the federal government should take a broader look at the fundamental of its decision to close the borders.
“While we acknowledge the trade imbalance between Nigeria and it’s neighbours and the security challenges facing the country currently, the citizen’s welfare and the business prosperity should not be sacrificed for the inefficiently of our border policy”.
”Despite the many merits that come with the border-closure, we are concerned the policy comes without any palliative for legitimate local businesses, which negate the attempts at alleviating poverty and reduce unemployment. The continuous closure also possesses the capacity to render many Nigerians jobless and hungry,” he said.
The policy was more consistent with income generation and not in agreement with the harsh effect it has on households, businesses and investor’s confidence in general. Since the advent of the policy, prices of goods, especially food items had increased tremendously, further making the average Nigerian vulnerable as 70% of poor households budget is spent on food.
”If the borders are safe and the Government enforces the bilateral and multilateral agreements it had signed with other countries, there won’t need to close the borders. Efforts should be stepped up to equip the customs to live up to its responsibilities of protecting the borders and nip smuggling in the bid,”he added.
He further stated that “at a time like this when unemployment rate is on the increase (23.1%), underemployment at 16.6% and expected to reach 33.5% by 2020, inflation rate now on upward trend, Government’s fiscal and monetary policies should focus on sustainable enterprise, job creation and rapid economic development premised on wide-range consultation with critical stakeholders.”