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Why Nigeria resumes vehicle importation through land borders: Customs

Imported Vehicles Market

Why Nigeria resumes vehicle importation through land borders: *The Federal Ministry of Transportation affirms the Federal Government’s decision to reopen the land borders for vehicles importation resulted from freight forwarders’ push to boost economic activities at the country’s land borders

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

In a bid to revitalise economic activities within the corridor, the Federal Government of Nigeria  lifted earlier ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders.

The immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had closed land borders between Nigeria and Cotonou, in Benin Republic, and subsequently, banned the importation of vehicles through that axis for some years.

Buhari, August 2019, shut all land borders as part of efforts at curtailing smuggling and boost local production of rice into the West African country.

But in December 6, 2020, the immediate past President ordered the immediate reopening of four land borders, including Seme in Lagos.

However, it was learnt Ibrahim Musa, Director of Road Transport in the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in Abuja, however, said that the Federal Government had approved the re-opening of the Seme border for the importation of vehicles int Nigeria.

Musa reportedly, noted this development at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) meeting, organised between the Nigerian and Beniniose officials.

The Director of Road Transport in the Ministry, affirmed the government’s decision also stated the measure to reopen the land borders  followed several complaints by freight forwarders operating at the border.

According to the Director, “I was here with the former Minister of State for Transportation when the freight forwarders pleaded that the border should be reactivated for the free movement of goods and services.

“The former minister made us prepare a memo to that effect. It was considered and sent to the government.”

Ban has affected revenue at Seme Border Command -NCS Area Controller

Supporting the need for the government to re-activate vehicles importation through land borders, Dera Nnadi, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Customs Area Controller of Seme Border Command, in Ogun State,  said the Service had also  noticed a reduction in its revenue since the importation of vehicles was banned from the land borders.

ConsumerConnect reports the Nigeria Customs Service recently denied the Federal Government’s move to lift the ban on vehicle importation through Seme border.

At the time, Hussaini Abdullahi, Customs Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Seme Area Command, had clarified the situation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

Abdullahi said the Nigerian  Government had not made a pronouncement on reopening the border at the time.

He also acknowledged that a proposal was written by some freight forwarders to the federal government, following an advice from Ademola Adegoroye, the former minister of state for transportation.

The Commander said the former Minister had visited the border to inaugurate some projects in February when the freight forwarders complained to him about how the ban had affected them.

He said Adegoroye advised the freight forwarders and members of the border community to put their request in writing.

Subsequently, Musa also affirmed the letter by the freight forwarders had been received and acted upon — by passing it to a higher authority for approval.

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