The Customs Area Controller of the Tincan Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Dera Nnadi has said that contrary to reports in some sections of the media, reopening of Nigerian borders for importation of goods is not automatic.
Nnadi who stated this in a press briefing in Lagos recently was reacting to an agreement signed by the Nigeria and Benin Republic Customs Administrations to develop frameworks for clearing of Nigeria bound goods in Benin Ports and vice versa. The two customs administrations agreed to collaborate to enhance trans-border security and regulate trade between the two countries.
Following the signing of the agreement in Abuja, some sections of the media understood the move to mean that the Nigerian borders earlier closed for business have been reopened and so reported in their various media.
However, throwing more light on what transpired in Abuja, the CAC explained that what happened at the two day interactive session between the two customs administrations was a mere signing of agreement to set up a framework for its actualization adding that a committee will still be set up and the government will still have to endorse it.
“So, it’s just like an idea based on the fact that it is already working elsewhere. Other countries in Africa, particularly in East Africa, are doing some of these things. In the Central African Republic, you go from your own port to another person’s port and examine containers. They do this thing before it comes to your own place. That is regional integration.
“For those of you that travel intercontinental, if you fly Lufthansa from here, they will check you in Nigeria, the next check they will do with you is at Frankfort and once they check you in Frankfort, nobody checks you again in any European countries. That is exactly what we want to do.
“You are carrying potatoes from Denmark to Belgium, once they check you at the border between Denmark and Belgium, until that potato enters London, France, Brazil, nobody checks you again. That is the EU. Why can’t we do it here? We are the ones making things look difficult.
“So, answering your question, it is not automatic. Please don’t go and import cars and say that the border has been reopened. Don’t go and import rice, we are not even bringing rice, they are saying that they will stop importing rice for our sake since we don’t want it.
“Another committee will be set up to work out all these things, it is not as if it is automatic, no! It is not as if we will wake up tomorrow and say go to Cotonou and clear goods, no! They are only making a proposal and we both signed to commit to that proposal if the committee works out how to achieve it. That is just what we have done, not that tomorrow morning, we just go to Cotonou and open the floodgates.
“Nobody has opened the border for imports to start coming. The framework is yet to be worked out. Though we gave a deadline, I think, the first framework will start on the 29th, the committee will be set up and the terms of reference will be given to them by 29th of September (2023) so that they will start sitting while the ICT people are meeting”, he clarified.
Photo: Comptroller Dera Nnadi, Customs Area Controller, Tincan Island Port Command.
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