FREEPRESS – The Federal Government may relax the ban on importation of vehicles through the land border.
The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali (retd.), who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller, Information and Communication Technology, Benjamin Aber, made this known at a stakeholders’ meeting.
The government had in January 2017 ordered a ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders.
But Ali said the government may reconsider its decision after the successful implementation of a new initiative by the NCS and the Customs Service of the Republic of Benin to automate and network all electronic information about incoming cargoes through the border.
He revealed that the decision of the government to shut down importation of vehicles through the border was because the government did not have a reliable system that would assist in controlling importation.
With declarations made for imports transiting from either of the countries electronically shared, the process of import and export would be done in a transparent manner and the government seeing such transparency would be convinced to relax its stance on land border importation.
He said “Vehicles were formerly being imported through the Seme border, but suddenly it was banned because the pressure of enforcement of anti-smuggling for vehicles and claiming of lives and revenue were becoming too alarming, so the government had to restrict the importation through Nigerian ports.
“When vehicles came through the land border, we did not have a record of how the imported cars came here and fake documentation became a common phenomenon. The ban was just a control measure against the practice.
“By the time we successfully deploy this reliable, transparent and predictable programme that would assist government agencies, not only Customs, to control and regulate the importation of vehicles, the government may decide to relax such restrictions.”
Ali said the establishment of the automated platform and bilateral connectivity meant that any truck that left the Republic of Benin, the information would already be remotely sent in English to Nigeria Customs Service system.
He also gave the assurance that illegal checkpoints mounted by Customs officers and other security agencies along the border corridors would disappear automatically adding that the new platform would be deployed by June 20.
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