President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, received the leadership of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Igbere TV reports.
Our State House correspondent reports that the delegation, which were drawn from Nigeria and other West African countries, were received at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Speaking on the closure of the Nigerian border, President Buhari said the aim was to put an end to smuggling and dumping of substandard items from other countries into Nigeria.
He lamented the impact of fake drugs and foods on the Nigerian citizens, including how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and loss of lives and property.
The president said since the border was shut, Nigeria has witnessed a significant drop in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in Nigerian markets.
Buhari, who was conferred with “Grand Patron” of the association by the delegates, equally used the opportunity to thank the NACCIMA for the honour.
Read the full statement posted on his verified Twitter handle, @MBuhari, as obtained by Igbere TV.
Today I met with a delegation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry from Nigeria and West Africa. I assured them of our administration’s readiness to work with them to bring an end to smuggling and the dumping of substandard items in West Africa and on the continent.
It is regrettable there there are traders who simply do not play by the rules; who choose profits over patriotism, and
whose selfish practices in perpetrating smuggling and counterfeiting help keep foreign factories working while closing ours.
We have all heard stories about the dangerous and sometimes, fatal impact of fake drugs and foods on our citizens. We have also seen how fake electrical items have led to fires in homes and markets thereby destroying lives and property.
Most of these substandard and illegal items are smuggled through our land borders. After many years of diplomacy and aggressive regulatory oversight which yielded few results, we decided to close our land borders for a limited time to assess the impact of this measure.
Within a few short weeks since the partial border closures began, we are already seeing a decline in the volumes of counterfeit smuggled goods in some of our major markets across the country.
This validates our action as a Government when we insist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement must not only promote free trade, but legal trade of quality made-in-Africa goods and services.
We will soon finalise the National Action Committee on the implementation of the AfCFTA. We expect the organized private sector to continue to support us in achieving a Free Trade Area that employs Africans to produce high-quality made-in-Africa products.
Let me also thank NACCIMA for the honour done to me with the investiture today as their Grand Patron. I will not let them down. Trade is central to our economy; we are a nation of traders,and have been for centuries. I will ensure that we continue to give the sector full support.