Nigeria will keep its land borders closed to trade until at least January 31, 2020, the customs spokesman said in Abuja on Sunday.
Nigeria launched a partial border closure in August to tackle smuggling of rice and other goods.
Last month the head of customs confirmed that all trade via land borders was halted indefinitely.
Joseph Attah, spokesman for the Nigerian customs service said the “present phase” of the closure would end on January 31, 2020, and that would not be the end of the closure.
“The operation is in phases, it will continue until the set objective is attained,” Attah told Reuters by phone.
A private memo sent by the customs service comptroller for enforcement, Victor Dimka, to colleagues called the closure operation an “overwhelming success”, but said there were some strategic objectives yet to be achieved.
The memo did not outline which objectives these were. Top of Form
It will be recalled that Nigeria in August closed its land borders to all movement of goods and has no timeline for reopening them, the head of the nation’s customs agency said.
“All goods for now are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders and that is to ensure that we have total control over what comes in,” Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service told reporters in Abuja.
Africa’s largest economy launched a partial border closure in August as part of an effort to curb rice smuggling and there have been widespread local media reports of a broader closure.
But Ali’s announcement was the first official confirmation of a total shutdown in trade across Nigeria’s land borders – including goods that had been moving legally.
“We are strategizing on how best the goods can be handled when we eventually get to the point where this operation will relax for the influx of goods,” he said.
He did not give a timeline for any relaxation of the controls.
The closure has no impact on Nigeria’s oil exports, which are exported almost entirely via the nation’s ports and offshore oil platforms.
Culled from Reuters