The founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has advised manufacturers in the country to stop complaining but dig out what Dangote, BUA and one other did differently that earned them exemption from the border closure by the federal government.
It will be recalled that the federal government had last week exempted Dangote Cement, BUA and a gas company from the restrictions imposed on businesses by the ongoing border closure ordered by the federal government over one year ago.
However, speaking in a chat with newsmen in Lagos last week, Aniebonam recalled that Dangote, BUA and the said gas company were involved in export which according to him was duty free adding that it was an effort to earn foreign exchange.
“Now, the Nigeria Export Promotion Council is there, I think it will be most appropriate for those who are involved in export to find out what led to Dangote and the rest of them being exempted from border closure and if there are requirements, they will find out. That is why you have Export Promotion Council.
“You cannot remove the concept of waiver from the government. You recall that in the cabotage law, there is a waiver clause. The exemptions are there, it has always been there. So, if you seek for such incentives, then you find out the criteria.
“If we continue to raise issues because it is Dangote and BUA and all that, it may not be the best approach to that. But those who are concerned should find out from the government and that means that they should write government and they will reply you”, he said.
Asked why government did not deem it fit to extend such gesture to other manufacturers who are involved in export rather than restricting it to only the three companies, he said, “A court does not give judgement in a matter that is not before it. That will be an abuse of power. Dangote and BUA may have applied to government and seek for certain waiver and government grants them, it is for you who wants to export to apply and find out what is the problem. You still don’t know why the government blocked the borders. They have not come completely to tell you; we heard security, having bad neighbours and all that. If I have things to export now, I will apply and write to the appropriate quarters.”
Dr. Aniebonam who is also the National Chairman of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) however opined that it was inappropriate for the government to continue to shut down the nation’s border saying that there was no reason for government to continue to do that.
According to him,” We kept slapping on our faces showing that we don’t have what it takes to man our borders. What makes us sovereignty? You can shut down the border for one month to correct an anomaly but for one year plus, why? And we are still talking about Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, how do we go into it.”
On the continued clamp down on Nigerian businesses in Ghana, he added that “The subject matter is not about Nigeria and Ghana, if you ask somebody like me. It is far from it. The issue is that the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) have lost their essence. To the extent that we are talking about common currency, yet, we are shutting down our borders and we are treating our fellow Africans the way we are doing now.
“So, it is not about Nigeria and Ghana, it is about disbanding all those bodies so that we will know that there is nothing like that. It is a matter of African Union and ECOWAS to take responsibility or they disband them because they are inconsequential.”
Photo: The founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam.
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