By: JP Ashedzi
Following the closure of borders in August 2019 by the federal government to halt smuggling along the borders, the Nigerian government has announced that Nigerian importers would soon be free to legally import their goods from the ports in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adeniyi, disclosed this while speaking to journalists after a two-day working visit of Alain Hinkati, Director-General of Customs, Republic of Benin, to Nigeria.
Although, the government in 2021 opened border points across the country, Seme, in the South-west, Ilela and Maitagari in the North-west, and Mfun in the South-south.
The government maintained that the ban on the importation of rice, poultry, and other products still subsists.
Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Adeniyi said the decision to set up a clearing point for Nigeria-bound goods was one of the highlights of the two-day working visit of the Director-General of Customs, Republic of Benin, to Nigeria.
“We are building confidence in the system offered by the Republic of Benin. Our importers are using their ports and vice-versa. If there are people in the Benin Republic who want to use our ports, we try to build trust in our systems.
“By this agreement, what it means is that Nigerian importers willing to use the ports in Cotonou can have their goods cleared in those ports because there would be an opportunity for them to pay duties on goods that are liable for payment of duties.
“We can account for the duties on those goods in the ports of arrival. So they will now be free to enter Nigeria,” Mr Adeniyi said.
He explained that the NCS is currently in the final stages of integrating its IT systems with the Federal Road Safety to curb illegal entry of vehicles.