Group urges FG to lift ban on sale of PMS at boarder Communities - FIWON - The People's Voice


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Group urges FG to lift ban on sale of PMS at boarder Communities - FIWON

By Oluwayemisi Oloyede

A Non-Govermental Organization, the Federation of Informal Workers Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON), has called on the federal government to lift ban on the sale of petroleum products in the border communities, saying that the ban has inflicted hardship on the living standard of residents in border communities.

The body equally said, the indiscriminate embargoes on goods should be lifted to allow prices to stabilize at levels comparable to those in neighbouring countries.

The FIWON Secretary General, Gbenga Komolafe, who made the call at a press conference held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said, this could be achieved through harmonization of tariffs in the sunb-region, and not the unilateral restrictions placed on goods by individual countries.

Komolafe charged Nigeria authorities to strengthen its institutions to be more efficient in facilitating mutual trade with the rest of the world, stressing that this would involve tackling corruption and the weak enforcement of trade protocols by customs officials, deployment of technology and overhauling of the ports infrastructure to improve case of trading. 

He noted that an integrated framework will enable coordination with neighbours and ensure better functioning of land borders.

He added that West African countries should require a regional industrial policy that builds on the comparative advantages  of individual countries to boost industrial production and stimulate intra-regional trade, positing that this will aid African countries grow together.

The FIWON Secretary General noted that there is need for urgent demilitarization of the border communities so that people living in those areas can get back their normal life, while economic activities, especially trade with other Nigerian communities outside the 20 kilometres enclave, where dealing in petroleum products is currently forbidden, as well as communities across the border, can be restored.

He said, "What is needed is ensuring that extant trade protocols, especially within the ECOWAS framework, be respected and enforced while one stop collection regime should be introduced rather than the unlimited unreceipted extortion which merely ends up in the pockets of security personnel operating in these communities".

He called for immediate recall of the vast array security agencies whose personnel inflict unnecessary harassment and extortion on poor working people. 

"It is enough for the Customs service to have its checkpoints limited to few entry points, which are all well known and make cross border traders pay statutory duties and levies within the context of ECOWAS trade protocols. The primitive arms and truncheon wielding, home and market raiding style of the Nigeria Customs Service must stop".

"Technology deployment, such as scanners at necessary entry points at the border to detect banned goods, especially illegal arms and ammunition should be enforced".

While lamenting that despite harsh policing of poor working people in the border communities, he said the 'big people' are still smuggling in banned goods, including arms and ammunition, while petroleum products are still shipped out, most often allegedly with escorts of the Customs and other security personnel.

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