Nigeria, Benin Customs adopt single goods declaration procedure
To facilitate regional trade, Customs authorities in Nigeria and Benin have adopted single goods declaration, as both countries introduce modern tools for inter-border clearance of goods.
Under the new system, declarations made for imports transiting from either of the countries to the other would be electronically shared to deal with corrupt tendencies and increase security.
The Assistant Comptroller-General of Customs, Zone ‘A’, Benjamin Aber, who disclosed this during the stakeholders’ sensitisation programme between Nigeria Customs Service and Benin Customs at Seme border, said both agencies are committed to taking bold steps to coordinate border management operations, in order to enable stakeholders to have seamless operations and facilitate trade between Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
He said: “The electronic connectivity will facilitate trade and reduce cost of doing business while security will be boosted.
“Deployment of non-intrusive equipment such as scanners will deal with the challenges of trans-border crimes including insurgencies.
“The electronic platform will integrate the two countries Single Windows trade platforms and also improve the compliance to trade regulatory and fiscal policy measures of both countries.
“The platform will create effective, predictable and transparent risk management system and reduction in smuggling activities in both countries and Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWS)”.
The Customs boss said that both the NCS and Benin Customs held and agreed on coordinated border management to enhance Ease of Doing business and reduce time spent on border trading.
Aber said that bilateral connectivity of all World Customs Organisation (WCO) members had been launched, saying that the Nigeria-Benin Customs Connectivity was established to be the first connectivity centre.
He said that the connectivity centre between the two countries would be launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Retired Col. Hameed Ali.
Aber said that the platform incorporated other government agencies of both countries, saying that communication technology would be created to stop the communication gaps that could evolve during transaction.
Director-General of Customs, Republic of Benin, Charles Saka, said there was need for customs to work on inter-connectivity which was recommended by the global organisation of Joint Border Post that was built by ECOWAS.
Saka said that the presidents of both countries met in Badagry 14 years ago to showcase their efforts in improving inter- border trade, which led to the connectivity platform intended to facilitate trade.
Representing National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Nurudeen Audi, urged Customs of both countries to involve other government agencies at the borders in the connectivity project.
Also speaking, Mrs. Layo Okeowo, who represented the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) commended the Customs of the two countries for initiating the connectivity platform project.
“It is a beautiful idea and I hope the human factor will not hinder the success of the project,“ Okeowo said.
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