The Association of Micro Entrepreneurs of Nigeria (AMEN) has appealed to the Federal Government to urgently resolve issues around the closure of the country’s land borders, in order to promote inclusive economic growth.
The association made the plea through its President, Mr Saviour Iche, at a media briefing in Lagos on Friday on the effects of border closure on local businesses and manufacturers.
According to Iche, the alternative use of seaports and airline for export freight as suggested by the government was beyond the financial capacity of most MSMEs.
“We wish that we can explore the freight option suggested by government, but most of us have not grown financially to that stage, that is why we are appealing to government to help us.
“Over 90 percent of small manufacturers and businesses with large customer base outside Nigeria are as a result of the border closure gradually going out of business because they cannot export their products.
“The services sector has also not been spared by the policy as a movement of personnel and work materials have come under heavy restrictions,” Iche said.
Speaking further, Ichie revealled that the situation has affected the income of businesses, hindered them from meeting financial obligations to creditors, family members and even, revenue to the government.
He further noted that most of the manufacturers and MSMEs embraced export to promote their products and expand their markets due to their willingness to support government’s efforts to diversify the economy and boost non-oil export revenues.
Iche, who said the closure of the borders occurred weeks after Nigeria signed onto the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), insisted government action could send a wrong signal to other countries about Nigeria’s sincerity to Africa’s economic integration.
Acknowledging the urgent need to curb smuggling activities in the country’s land border, Ichie insisted that the policy should be situated in the larger context of the overall economy.