FG’s Trade Policies Fuelling Smuggling – Don

FG’s Trade Policies Fuelling Smuggling – Don

A university don has expressed disappointment at the Federal Government trade policies placing ban on importation of  items without viable alternative.
Speaking over the weekend, Dr Austin Nweze, disclosed that Nigeria government banning import without viable alternative only improves the economy of neighboring countries.
Dr Nweze, a university lecturer with Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos said banning items without viable alternative only improve economy of neighbouring countries who allowed smuggling of those banned imports into Nigeria.
He said, “Some government policies don’t make any economic sense because when you ban an item without an alternative what it does is to improve the economies of the neighbouring countries because every year countries like Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and the rest don’t announce their budget until Nigeria has announced its and listed all the banned items.”
“So for their economy to survive they have to open up their seaports so they can import those items and smuggle into Nigeria because our borders are porous and once these items are smuggled into the country, they are economic lose to us,so the government is to man the borders and make sure there is an alternative before they ban any item.
“For instance, If u ban importation of rice, make sure it’s available at local production. If there is an alternative to a level that the prices are reasonable, affordable then it makes no sense to smuggle even if imported you are wasting your money.
The development economist who advise the government to open its borders to items it cannot produce yet said the government should place high tariff on luxury items. 
“For luxury items all you need to do is to allow importation of whatever you have to bring and place high tariff on these   items and items not producing here you leave the borders open for importation and charge your tariffs still make money.”
Nweze also disclosed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has deviated from its role of protecting local industries to a money-making agency of government.
He said, “The whole concept of Custom Services is to protect local industries but Nigeria government has turned it’s own service upside down and has turned it into a money making machine.
“Thinking that there is no money in the hands of government, Nigerians are been punished because they have to pay for the huge revenue the Customs is collecting as import revenue. Also, the masses that consumes those items  have to  pay for the high cost of what the customs are collecting.”

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