On January 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria ban vehicle importation by land.
The ban which was announced after the government also restricted the importation of rice by the land border in April 2016.
After much consideration, the government is likely to end the ban on the importation of vehicles through the land border.
This consideration followed a successful inculcation of a new idea by the custom service of Nigeria and Republic of Benin custom service.
The decision would help to automate and network all information electronically on vehicles that are coming in cargoes through the border.
Mr Benjamin Aber, the assistant controller, information and communication technology who represented the controller general, NCS, Colonel Hameed Ali Retd. at a stakeholders meeting regarding the new initiative revealed the Assurance that with a successful implementation of the bilateral electronic connectivity program that will exist between Nigeria and Benin Republic, the Federal Government of Nigeria is likely to put an end to restriction of items coming through the land border.
He further said, the earlier ban was because the government lack adequate resources to assist in controlling importation but with the new initiative, they will be transparency on what is coming in and out of the country.
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.”
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.”
What the creation of the automated platform and bilateral connectivity means is that the information of any vehicle leaving Benin Republic will be sent in English to Nigeria custom service before the vehicle arrival.
This development will put an end to illegal checkpoints some custom officers and other security agencies mounted.
“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 new platform would be in operation by June 20.