Border Closure – IMF backs Nigeria, urges resolution of issues
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has backed Nigeria’s closure of its borders with neighbouring countries over issues bordering on illegal trade. It however called on the Federal Government to speedily resolve the issues that led to the closure. It said the closure of Nigeria’s borders with the Republic of Benin and Niger if sustained for a long period might affect Africa’s economy negatively. The Director, Africa Development, IMF, Abebe Selassie said these while speaking on the regional outlook for Sub Saharan Africa.
Nigeria in August partially closed its borders with Benin and Niger to curb rice smuggling threatening the country’s attempt to boost local production.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had said on the sidelines of the World Bank meetings the action was taken because the Federal Government was not getting the right cooperation with neighbouring countries. She said going by the fact that Nigeria had signed the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, there was a need for the government to ensure that those bilateral agreements with other countries were respected.