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BORDER CLOSURE: Port Council calls for restructuring of ETLS

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By Godwin Oritse

Seme Border

As the crises between Nigeria and her neighboring countries in the West Africa region escalates over Nigeria’s border closure, the Ports Consultative Council, PCC, has recommended a restructuring of the Economic Community of West Africa States, ECOWAS, Trade Liberalization Scheme, ETLS, to resolve the disputes.

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Speaking at an interactive session hosted by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, the Chairman of the PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin, said this would ensure that Nigeria or any country would not have any reason to shut the borders in the future.

Folarin explained that ECOWAS do not have to have crisis before control measures were put in place to manage these crisis.

According to him, 600 trailers loaded with goods exit and enter Nigeria through the land borders with neighbouring countries everyday while over $2million cash also exchanges hands in the cross border trading every day.

In the session themed ‘Federal Government Land Border Closure: Freight Forwarders Perspective’, Folarin further explained that the closure of the border goes beyond the physical closure of the border adding that there was more to the economic and finance of the border closure.

“From the discussions today, it is very clear that those that are affected by the border closure feel that the issue should be revisited and that the border should be reopened and if it is not opened, there must be some framework to be done so that for future, we shall have no reason to close the border.

“Particularly the issue of Customs administration was mentioned, we have to reform, we have to restructure all the treaties and protocols including the ETLS.

“Importation and exportation of goods and services must receive a tighter administration; we must not wait until there is crisis before we do damage control.

“Closing the border is damage control and we should avoid that in order to make sure that Nigeria prospers by giving due attention to issues that needs attention.”

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