There are indications that the Federal Government will soon remove the ban on importation of vehicles through the land border, Herald Nigeria has learnt.
Recall that the government had in January 2017 ordered a ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders.
However, following the introduction of a new initiative by the Nigeria Customs Service and the Customs Service of the Republic of Benin to automate and network all electronic information about incoming cargoes through the border, the government is set to relax the ban.
The platform is set to roll out on June 20.
The Comptroller General, NCS, Col Hameed Ali (retd.), who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller, Information and Communication Technology, Benjamin Aber, at a stakeholders’ meeting on the new initiative, expressed confidence that it would facilitate an end to the ban on items coming through the land border.
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.
“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.,” he added.
With the automated platform and bilateral connectivity, Ali explained that any truck that left the Republic of Benin the information would already be remotely sent in English to Nigeria Customs Service system.
He also gave the assurance that illegal checkpoints mounted by Customs officers and other security agencies along the border corridors would disappear automatically.
“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.