Uche Olowu, the CIBN president, was addressing journalists at the Aso Villa on Friday after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Olowu commended the Buhari administration’s efforts in tackling insecurity, economic policies including that of the border closure.
“You will agree with me that the president and commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Buhari is a passionate man, has a political will and has been driving this nation in spite of all the distractions stemming from insecurity.
“The various key policies and initiatives that he initiated amongst them including the border closure and as an institute, we are very much in support of the border closure because clearly.
“The border policy is a clincher policy for us because it checks arms smuggling, support local industry to grow because that is the way to grow and of course infiltration of small arms have been curbing. If you look at the statistics, even in the petroleum sector that policy has also tried to reduce the level of subsidy that has happened in the economy, so we commended him.
Asked to comment on reports that local manufacturers are loosing an estimated N2 billion daily as a result of the closure, Olowu said: “People don’t seem to understand, let’s look at the philosophical foundation of the border closure. Clearly one was, there is a lot of dumping of goods into the country and then there are illegal and illicit trades that deprived the government of appropriate revenue and then thirdly, the level of insecurity because most of the small arms were smuggled through those land borders.
“Of course we had a situation where the nation was subsidizing the neighbouring countries in terms of petroleum in the downstream sector. If you have that context put in proper perspective then you will begin to appreciate the benefits of this policy.
“I do not agree with people who said local manufacturers cannot export their goods and services. But that closure was not against local manufacturers. Pass through the right channel, the sea border is not closed, it’s the land border that is closed, it’s just checking the illegal activities that are going on.
“Anybody that is saying that we cannot export is a saboteur because anybody that is not supporting this (border closure) means that he is saboteur, the government was losing revenue, insecurity and then we are subsidizing neighbouring countries in the downstream sector, statistics said so.
“The PMS consumption has gone down by 30% translate that, how many billions of naira? That could be channelled properly.
“On inflation, he (the president) said, definitely there would be because suddenly there was a shock in the system and that shock will create this temporary inflation, give it time down the line things would normalize. So it’s just a temporary something.
“Some people are advocating for permanent closure, but no, because we are part of the ECOWAS treaty and we are talking about that. In various fora, Mr President has said that let our neighbours comply with the treaty. Once that is done we should be able to begin to find the free flow of goods.”
Olowu said the delegation discussed various issues with the president including the need for an education bank that will give access to both professional bodies and individuals to access loans.