By Innocent Orok
The National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) has cautioned the Federal government against multiple checkpoints along the Lagos-Badagry- Seme border corridor and other entry points across the six geopolitical zones so as to encourage Nigeria participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agreement.
NAFFAC also lamented that Nigeria businesses may suffer major setbacks if government fails to resolve the bottlenecks on the movement of goods from all the entry points and international frontiers saying that Nigerian goods and services have potentials to compete favourably in the region.
Speaking at a roundabout meeting put together by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) on Wednesday in Lagos, President General of the foremost freight forwarding group, Prince Adeyinka Bakare expressed concerns over the multiple checkpoints manned by security agencies and touts along border routes, especially the Badagry- Seme road , noting that the illegalities would further affect foreign and local investments.
Bakare lamented that the association has engaged government at all levels in furtherance to tackling the illegalities along the Lagos Abidjan corridor .
According to him, there are only five checkpoints between Ghana and Benin noting that Nigeria has over 30 checkpoints manned by operatives of the government which he described as extortion of the highest order.
Bakare who doubles as the Managing Director, De Potter Nigeria Limited told the group of journalists that trade barrier must be eliminated for the country to participate fully in AFCFTA, calling on the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration to reduce the number of checkpoints along the routes to encourage international trade.
The NAFFAC boss explained that Nigeria stand a chance to benefit immensely in the exportation of her commodities to other countries of the continent if well harnessed. While reiterating the association’s commitment towards encouraging exportation, Bakare said that freight forwarding business is beyond imports , urging government to look inward to put in place policies to drive exports.
He lamented that the poor foreign exchange rate against the Naira has also discourage international trade, but expressed optimism that non – oil export would further grow the economy when government prioritize cargo exportation.
He said “government needs to listen to this clarion call because all our exports supposed to be on CIF which is Cost Insurance and Freight and not the other way round.
“The issue of multiple checkpoints along the entry points is killing the business and it will affect the AfCFTA. The multiple checkpoints is not limited to Lagos -Abidjan corridor alone. It is common in the northern region of the country and government is not doing anything about it”.
Speaking further, he added that” This government should further encourage non-exports to tackle the fall of our Naira”.