Trade: Border enforcement should continue for as long as necessary- Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN
… Frowns on compromise at the borders that encourages continued smuggling from neighbouring countries
On this edition of ‘CEOs Talk Business’, Dr. Olisa Agbakob SAN, renowned maritime lawyer and Senior Partner at Olisa Agbakoba Legal sits ‘At The Marina Today’ to discuss issues of challenges with trade facilitation at the nation’s ports.
Agbakoba describes trade as tricky and states that Nigeria’s land borders should remain closed for as long as the nation’s interest is promoted and local industries supported to grow.
He supports revenue generation drive of the Nigeria Customs Service, but insists there must be a balance from the Customs operations to ease operational processes to make the nation’s ports attractive.
A key issue raised by Agbakoba is that it remains illegal and translates into smuggling when goods get to neighbouring countries as designated final destination and begin to find their way into Nigeria without any duty paid to the Nigeria Customs Service.
Border enforcement must be very effective to protect and grow local industries
Goods designated for a particular country as final destination means the end of that transaction there. Moving such goods from like Cotonou to Lagos, means smuggling, which the ECOWAS protocol does not allow. Which is what is happening. So, the goods destined for Cotonou are in transit to Nigeria, therefore we are then entitled to apply relevant trade remedies.
In that instance, we apply Trade Remedies Legislation, which means that you are able to assign duty or tariffs or quotas to protect your own market.
Trade facilitation does not translate into having an open border.
So, the importance of trade is to first of all promote your country. If trade does not, then you use tariff, quotas and high walls to stop it.
The land borders should remain closed to the extent that Nigeria needs it. To the extent that Nigeria is not violating any protocols. Which it is not.