The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday urged the Federal Government to address recurrent trade malpractices at the borders by deploying appropriate border surveillance technology and improving logistic arrangements to tackle smuggling.
The Director-General of the association, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the advice became pertinent when purchases of textile and apparels especially smuggled ones for the Yuletide were in top gear.
Ajayi-Kadir said that smuggling would be greatly minimised with the deployment of appropriate modern surveillance technology including drones at the nation’s borders.
“There is also the need for improved logistic arrangements at the borders in terms of vehicles, communication equipment and cameras among others,’’ he said.
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Earlier, the association in its first-quarter executive summary on Thursday called for the recruitment, training and improvement in the welfare of customs personnel to guarantee efficient border monitoring and control.
They called for the strengthening of the Nigerian Customs’ database to capture all recorded issues of smuggling, counterfeiting and cloning activities in Nigeria.
It also called for a public enlightenment campaign through the media to educate the general public of the dangers and negative implications of products counterfeiting on the economy.
MAN further advocated for the strengthening of the legal and regulatory framework, with stiffer penalties, and a process of returning smuggled, counterfeited and cloned goods to the originating countries rather than destroying them and wasting the nation’s scarce resources.
It demanded the engagement of the governments of Niger and Benin Republic on trade data sharing.
“Government should put in place strategy and policy framework to transit the operators in the informal sector to the formal sector.
“Engage the government of Niger and the Benin Republic on trade data sharing and put in place strategy and policy framework to transit the operators in the informal sector to the formal sector,” the association said in a statement.
NAN reports that the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar had said that the cumulative value of textiles and garments imported or smuggled into the country annually was estimated at 4.2 billion dollars.
Abubakar, who spoke at the High-Level Stakeholders Retreat on Cotton, Textiles and Garments (CTG)’s policy in Abuja on Dec. 13, noted that 329 million dollars worth of revenue was lost to importation and smuggling of textiles and garments per annum.