Vehicles Smuggling: Ex -NIS President Says Nigeria’s Trade Policy Wrong

The immediate past president of the Nigerian Institute of Shipping (NIS); Mr. John Egesi, has said that the Nigeria trade policy is very wrong.

Mr. Egesi who spoke to Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week, was reacting to the high rate of smuggling of vehicles into the country, which is caused by the decision of the government some years back to ban the importation of vehicles into the country through land borders.

Egesi, who is also a former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA) which is now Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), also said that the country is losing huge revenue to that policy.

He called for the revisiting of the ban on land importation, saying that it has a way of reducing crime in the country.

“I have already spoken on television on this, I mentioned the evil of banning and barring vehicles or importation into the country economically, the country loses because the economic situation is bad. If you quantify (in monetary terms) what the country gains and the jobs the youths get from these imported vehicles; it keeps them busy. What we call multiplier effect in economics is intensified money from one hand to the other. It also has a way of dowsing crimes because when the youths are busy they won’t be involved in crimes; people involve themselves in crimes when they are frustrated. If you go to USA you will discover that the most deprived people are the ones that involve themselves in crime the more. Basically the trade policy of this country is very wrong, it a policy borne out of fear without proper economic analysis and it has been on for over 40-50 years”, he stressed.

He lamented that although those smuggling are enriching neighbouring countries like Cotonou, adding that the government should find a way of establishing companies that will be manufacturing those smuggled goods as a way of discouraging smuggling

“Whenever the economy appears threatened, they start buying goods, who gains, Cotonou does. Because when such vehicles are discharged, monies are paid into their ports authority to get the goods landed, their customs will even gain from it. Eventually the goods will come because you can’t stop demand; the most demanded goods are the ones you see that are smuggled. If the country has the proper intellectual capability, they should realize that what they should do is to ensure that they see those smuggled goods as a mirror to what people want. If they see people always wanting to smuggle a particular good, go and beg the producer to start producing that goods in that way you will create a job and make it standard”.