The International Monetary Fund (IMF) “supports’’ Nigeria’s land border closure as the action is not punitive, says the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed.
Nigeria’s Finance Minister spoke on Sunday in Washington, the US, following the just-concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting.
According to Ahmed, the measure was to restore Nigeria’s relationship with its neighbours based on commitments made.
She noted that President Muhammadu Buhari did not want to approve the closure as he was aware of the effect it would have on neighbouring nations.
“Of course, there will be economic impact on the side of our neighbours due to the border closure, that is a consequence of it,” she said.
“In a manner of speaking, the IMF supports the border closure that we have done because they understand that the closure was not meant to be punitive.
“It was meant for us to restore our relationship with our neighbours back to the commitments that we made.”
According to her, “The commitment that we have among these countries is that goods can come through their ports to Nigeria.
“They are supposed to come in sealed containers escorted to Nigeria for the Nigeria Customs Service to inspect the goods and charge them.
“But that is not what is happening. They allow containers to be opened, and also allow goods to be smuggled beyond the formal borders through several illegal routes.”
Nigeria Secures Loan
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has secured a $3bn loan from the World Bank.
The Finance Minister stated the loan is to be used for reforming the nation’s power sector.
According to her, the loan would be disbursed in four tranches of $750m each beginning from April 2020.
She also stated that the loan would cover the funding gap as well as the current tariff which investors in the sector had described as very low compared to what is obtainable in other countries.