Cutoms considers lifting ban on vehicle importation by land

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has hinted on plans by the Federal Government to relax the ban placed on importation of vehicles through the nation’s land borders.

The Comptroller General, NCS, Col Hameed Ali (retd) disclosed this on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ sensitisation programme between Nigeria Customs Service and Benin Customs at Seme.

Represented by Benjamin Aber, the Assistant Comptroller, Information and Communication Technology, Ali said one of the implementations of the initiative may include the lift of the ban as both countries consider bilateral electronic connectivity programme.

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.

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“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.”

He added, “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.

The programme would see the two countries network and combine their digital communication platform to make room for trade facilitation and reduce smuggling.

According to him, the platform would be announced on June 20

By Babatunde Alao…

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