Just days after a top experiential practitioner predicted better days for 2021 if Nigeria's
land borders are reopened, the federal government have gone ahead to do exactly that. Last Wednesday, the Nigerian government had ordered the reopening of four major land borders in Nigeria after almost 16 months. The borders were closed since August last year.
The borders posts reopened by government are Seme and Mfun in South West Nigeria, and
Ilela and Maitagari in the North West.
Many analysts believe reopening the borders will allow exporters in Nigeria to recapture their share of formal and informal trade that has been lost, while also allowing for exporters
beyond West Africa to have access to the Nigerian market. The reopening, many
feel. will also be a boost to the region's substantial informal economy.
Speaking earlier to Experiential NG, Kayode Olagesin, Managing Director/CEO Towncriers
Limited, Lagos and Pioneer President of Experiential Marketing Association of Nigeria
(EXMAN) had stated that reopening the borders will propel the economy back into growth
phase, and hopefully, going into the new year, dig the country out of the recession hole.
In His words: "If government opens up the boarders, you will begin to see a lot more
activities on the path of manufacturers. Right now, according to MAN, we have a situation
where there is a whole load of stocks sitting in the warehouses that they cannot even move.
The inflation is such that even consumer purchasing power is really low right now so the
ability to buy is impaired."
The manufacturers are also having their own issues too. So all of these `presents a huge
challenge. But if they open the boarder as promised, part of the huge stock can now be moved out to neighbouring countries. That means part of their problems has been solved because if you export, you actually can earn foreign exchange and some of their foreign exchange challenges can be addressed
Summarising his comments on expectations for 2021, Olagesin said he is cautiously
optimistic that both business and consumer activities will receive a huge boost coming into
the new year; "I want to believe 2021 will be a better year for the marketing communication
industry for as long as our clients are active and doing business, then we need to support their products and services" he concluded.
Generally, economic experts across the country have stated that the border reopening
directive by the Federal Government could have both positive and negative implications on
the country's economy. The Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, while disclosing that at the Federal Executive Council meeting said while the four borders are to be immediately reopened, the ban on importation of rice, poultry and other banned products still subsists and will be implemented by the border patrol team
Many commentators feel the border reopening has its human, economic and social impacts.
Many think there is a high probability that a lot of goods would come in and compete with
Nigerian-made goods while others have showered government with praises.
Muda Yusuf, the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted
that government's decision to reopen the borders asserts Nigeria's economic leadership in
Africa. We cannot keep a closed border when we have signed on to free continental trade. It
will be a huge contradiction, he explained.
For Charles Onunaiju, Director of the Center for China Studies in Abuja, “It is a welcome
development and will be beneficial to the economy. Many small businesses depend on cross-border trade for a living and many manufacturers also leverage the ECOWAS Trade
Liberalisation Scheme to boost their business,”