Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (retd.), has disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria may lift the ban on vehicles and other items imported into the country via land borders. He stated that this was due to the successful bilateral electronic connectivity agreement reached by the Nigerian government and the Republic of Benin.
According to the Controller General who was represented by Benjamin Aber, Assistant Comptroller, Information and Communication Technology, the decision of the Federal government to restrict land importation of vehicles was due to the absence of an effective system to checkmate those imports.
With a comprehensive record of imports from other countries on ground, the government would have fewer reasons to continue the implementation of the land border restriction.
“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,”Ali said.
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Tokunbo cars were mostly imported through the land borders
The Controller General further revealed that fake documentation was an issue, and it was difficult to know how certain vehicles came into the country since there was no transparent record system. Hence, the restriction was a measure to control such illegal practices.
But with the new development, which upholds transparency in the control and regulation of imports in the country by the Customs as well as other authorized agencies, the government may lift the ban. As vehicles leave the Republic of Benin, their information will be sent to the Nigeria Customs Service electronically.
“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 added.