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Border closure responsible for rising inflation, FG admits

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MINISTER of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed Wednesday said that closure of the nation’s borders contributed to the rising inflation in the country.

The Minister however assured that the closure is temporary as government expects the neighbouring countries to respect the ECOWAS protocols to enable the reopening of the borders.The nation’s annual inflation rate was said to have increased to 11.61 per cent in October 2019 from 11.24 per cent in the previous month, reaching the highest since May of 2018.

It was also reported that prices rose mainly for food.

But the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in what appears to be a contrary view on the rising inflation said that the benefits for border closure far surpasses the very little increase in inflation.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Ahmed and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed spoke while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Finance Minister during the briefing explained that despite the closure of borders and the complaints by some Nigerians on the negative effects, its benefits outweigh any hardship people may be complaining about.

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According to her, “I need to remind us that the border closure is temporary. We have really advanced in our discussions between ourselves and our neighbours. We expect that the outcomes of those discussions and agreements are that each party will respect the protocols that we all committed to and then the borders will be open again.

“What we are doing is important for our economy. We signed up to the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement, we have to make sure that we put in place checks to make sure that our economy will not be overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the ACFTA. That is why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we all committed to.”

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