Goods worth N1.45 trillion are smuggled into Nigeria annually from the Benin Republic. This was the revelation from Simon Tsuwan, a representative of the Acting Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), David Terhemba Nongo, has revealed. He spoke on the sidelines of a two-day national workshop in Lagos, last week.
The workshop, which sought to examine the role the Maritime industry in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), with the theme: “AfCFTA: Boosting Nigeria’s Economy for Sustainable Development,” was organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON).
Tsuwan rued the menace of smuggling through the Benin Republic corridor into Nigeria, saying it has taken a huge negative economic influence on the nation. To this end, he revealed that NEPZA was ready to support the Federal Government on border closure.
According to him, a recent World Bank report stated that about N1.45 trillion worth of goods is smuggled into Nigeria annually through the Benin Republic border with Nigeria alone. He said that the disturbing situation of smuggling prompted Africa’s foremost industrialist, Aliko Dangote, to lament that there is no country that can survive with the Benin Republic as a neighbour.
The closure, he reiterated, would help to boost local manufacturing, job creation and economic growth by checking the smuggling of goods into the country, including helping to increase the country’s global competitiveness as well as attracting investors.