On Monday, November 4, the Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday laid out three conditions for which other members of the Economic Communities of West African States (ECOWAS) can bring their goods through the country’s land borders.
The Nigerian government made the conditions known through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who spoke during an Inter-Ministerial meeting, held ahead of the Tripartite Anti-Smuggling Committee meeting to be held between Nigeria, Benin and the Niger Republic.
According to the minister, Nigeria would consider reopening its land borders and allowing the movement of goods if the following conditions are met:
- There shall be no modification to the packaging of goods coming from outside the ECOWAS region and imported into an ECOWAS member-state destined for Nigeria.
In the words of Nigeria’s foreign minister: “There should be no modification whatsoever to the packaging on those goods imported into an ECOWAS member state destined for Nigeria.”
He added: “So, the original packaging, and they must be escorted from the port directly to the entry point, designated entry point on Nigerian borders, so presented to Nigeria Customs, with the packaging intact and those goods escorted. This is an absolute precondition that will not be compromised.”
- The original packaging should be maintained, and goods must be escorted directly from the port of member-states to the designated entry point on Nigerian borders. It must also be presented to the Nigeria Customs with the packaging intact.
The minister said: “That it is an absolute requirement of the Government of Nigeria that any imports coming through the land borders, our land borders, when those imports are transit in goods, that is to say when they are coming outside the ECOWAS region and imported into an ECOWAS member state, that those goods should retain their original packaging.”
Thirdly and finally;
- The exported goods must be goods produced in the ECOWAS member-states in order to prevent the dumping of foreign goods in Nigeria.
According to Onyeama, a Memorandum of Understanding will be signed between Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the neighbouring countries in a formal meeting, though details of the schedule for the meeting remain sketchy.
The Minister also talked up Nigeria’s intention to take compliance with ECOWS Rules of Origin very seriously. This rule stipulates that goods coming from outside ECOWAS must show value addition of over 30 percent to an ECOWAS country.
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