Two years after border closure, trade across Seme border falters
Barely two years after the Federal Government reopened the land borders, international trade within the Seme border in Lagos State is still at a low ebb.
The Customs Area Controller of Seme Customs Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, who disclosed this during a press conference at Seme border, said, traders were yet to take advantage of the border reopening and some key policies aimed at jumpstarting import and export transactions.
Nnadi also lamented that the dearth in imports is as a result of the unfriendly trade policies introduced by the Republic of Benin, which is affecting transit cargoes bound for Nigeria.
He said: “It is worthy of note that the major source of revenue of the Command has not been enhanced since the opening of the land borders as directed by the Federal Government, as traders are still bracing with the challenges of having been out of business for about two years.”
He urged traders to take advantage of Federal Government’s policy meant to boost international trade, disclosing that the Federal Ministry of Finance 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures lifted the ban on the export of goods imported into Nigeria hitherto prohibited under Item 8, Schedule 6 of the Common External Tariff.
However, he said this is subject to exporters obtaining approval from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning and payment of a 2.5 per cent export surcharge of the present value of the goods.
Nnadi said: “The traders are yet to take full advantage of this gesture and we call on them to optimise the opportunities offered by the policy.”
He promised to adopt new strategies to boost trade while enforcing the nation’s anti-smuggling laws along the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALCO) in line with the ECOWAS protocols on the free movement of goods and persons.