Anant Badjatya, the agent of Stallion Group in Nigeria, says the decision to close the country’s land borders could not have come at a better time.
Badjatya was answering questions from journalists, including TheCable, at a recent event in Lagos.
“The ongoing border closure could not have come at a better time. This is a very bold step which is very important for the country as a whole. It will support local production. If you talk about any of the industries from rice to steel, auto and poultry, we have a lot of production capacity locally.
“People have made a lot of investments in the country and it was not yielding results so this border closure has impacted industries in a very positive manner. In the last two and a half months, people are wanting to grow paddy because paddy is selling.
“The local rice is selling and people are getting a taste of local rice. Earlier, they thought only imported rice is good, now they are saying local is healthy and good. This also applies to steel too.
“The rice is selling, we are seeing a lot of demand for rice, cars and poultry. We have also seen a demand for flexible packaging. It is very clear now that all the supply was coming from across the borders.”
As a result of the improved sales, Badjatya said the company is looking to expand its investments in the country.
“We are looking to invest more in the country. For steel, we are looking to invest $220 million for the Delta Steel Plant,” he explained.
“For auto, we have invested N120 billion and we want to invest more. We want to set up more rice mills like Dangote is doing because the demand is huge.
“This country needs around seven million tonnes of rice, the installed capacity is five million tonnes which means only three million tonnes of rice. The border closure is like labour pain.”
The country closed its land borders to neighbouring countries in August in order to check smuggling activities.
The Nigeria Customs Service also restricted the supply of petroleum products to communities within 20km of the borders. (The Cable)