Nigerian importers, who desire to import their goods through Cotonou Ports in Benin Republic will be free to do so legally soon. And this will also be applicable to importers in Benin Republic.
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 Service of Benin Republic, Mr. Alain Hinkati, as contained in a communique issued in Abuja yesterday.
The Ag. Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi, explained that the details of the framework were being worked out.
Under the arrangement, Nigeria-bound goods would be assessed and appropriate duties paid in that country and credited to the Nigerian government through the NCS.
Adeniyi described the framework as a great progress in sub-regional integration and trade facilitation efforts of his team at the Customs, in collaboration with their counterparts from neighbouring Benin Republic.
He added that he had “substantially reduced barriers around trade corridors as the number of checkpoints have been significantly reduced,” working with the police authorities, with a pledge to reduce them to the minmum possible.
The Customs boss said: “The NCS is in the final stages of aligning its Information Technology, IT, system with that of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, in order to curb smuggling of vehicles into the country.”
He said his administration was harmonising the list of prohibited items with Benin Republic to advance the security function of the agency.
On his administration’s efforts to gain the confidence of border communities, Adeniyi said his team would make the.communities its priority in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.
The Director-General of Customs Service of Benin Republic, Alain Hinkati, appealed to the Nigerian authorities to open the border with his country, noting that the border closure was hurting trade facilitation between the two countries, as well as sub-regional trade.