By Samson Echenim
Lack of the right fiscal and monetary policies is inducing smuggling across Nigerian borders, with about 200 customs officers being felled by smugglers bullets annually, Hameed Ali, director-general of Nigeria Customs Service has said.
“The government needs to get its fiscal and monetary policies right. The cost of doing business in the country is high and government needs to provide roads, security and power for our local industries to thrive. When these are made available and easier to access, products made in the country will be cheap and able to compete with the foreign goods because this is one of the reasons smuggling thrives,” Ali told a section of businessmen, dealing on textiles and security agencies chiefs at a meeting with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“I will urge the CBN to work to improve on fiscal and monetary policies to help check smuggling. The government needs to do something about the textile industry, because textile materials are being smuggled in very large quantity.
“Frankly, to address smuggling, the local industries must set the right prices and quality to have the desired patronage. The market is there, our local textile industries must be ready to compete and this is a Nigerian project. We shall work with CBN and other relevant stakeholders in achieving it,” said Ali who was represented at the meeting by Abdullahi Babani, an assistant comptroller-general of Customs.
He said NCS was disturbed by the high level of smuggling in the country and it was working tirelessly to reduce it to the barest minimum.
The customs boss urged stakeholders in the cotton, textile and garments (CTG) industries to help the service in the area of intelligence by providing useful information that would assist in identifying the smugglers with a view to punishing them accordingly.