Nigeria-bound goods to be cleared in Cotonou - VANGUARD
SEPTEMBER 12, 2023
…As Benin Republic appeals for border re-opening
BY Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Nigerian importers who desire to import their goods through Cotonou Ports in Benin Republic will be free to do so legally, soon.
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 Kinkati, as contained in a Communique issued this afternoon, in Abuja.
The Ag. Comptroller-General (C-G) of the 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 during paid in that country, with such duties credited to the Nigerian government, through the NCS.
Mr. Adwniyi described the framework as a great progress in sub-regional integration and trade facilitation efforts of his team at the Cuatoms, 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 Ag. C-G disclosed “the NCS is in the final stages of aligning its Information Technology (IT) system with that of the Federal Road Safety Corps in order to curb smuggling of vehicles into the country.”
Similarly, the Customs boss said that his administration was “harmonising the list of prohibited items with Benin Republic,” to advance the security function of the organisation.
On his administration’s efforts to gain the confidence of border communities, Mr. Adeniyi said that his team would make the.communities its priority in terms.of Corporate Social Responsibility.
In his remarks, the Director-General of Customs Service of Benin Republic Mr. Alain Hinkati, appealed the Nigerian authorities to open the border with his country.
He noted that the border closure was hurting trade facilitation between the two countries, as well as, sub-regional trade.
The D-G said that the two-day working visit was a time of Frank discussion to deepen talks earlier in his country a d that practical steps needed to be taken to actualize the objectives.
His words, “We need to improve our trade facilitation. What we have done here is to deepen the discussions we had in Benin. We need concrete steps to have results.
“The framework we are coming up with for Nigeria-bound goods to be cleared in Benin Republic and vice versa is the way to go to facilitate trade between both countries.
“We want to ensure all obstacles to trade are dealt with.”
Also.speaking, the Ambassador of Benin Republic to Nigeria, H.E Adjovi Paulette, said that Nigerians and Beninoise were the same people, as according to her, “it just like you have your room in Benin Republic and your.palour in Nigeria.”
She assured that her country was fully prepared to cooperate with Nigerian authorities to ensure trade facilitation between the two countries on mutually beneficial grounds.