After a successful implementation of the bilateral electronic connectivity programme between Nigeria and Republic of Benin, the Federal Government is set to lift the ban on items coming through the land border by June 20.
The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col Hameed Ali (retd.), who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller, Information and Communication Technology, Benjamin Aber, said this at a stakeholders’ meeting.
In January 2017, the government had ordered a ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders.
According to Ali, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Customs Service of the Republic of Benin are set to automate and network all electronic information about incoming cargoes through the border.
Ali said 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 monitoring importation.
“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”, he said.
“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.”
“The roads also have to be fixed, because we cannot automate clearing of goods between the Customs and at the end, the stakeholders would be complaining,” he pointed out.