The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Benin Republic Customs have concluded plans to integrate importers and exporters declarations at the border stations as part of ECOWAS mandates to facilitate trade.
The new initiative will feature single declaration, deal with corrupt tendencies, reduce cost of doing business, promote trade, prevent revenue losses and curb smuggling across the two countries’ borders.
However, any declarations made for imports within the two counties would be distributed and shared electronically to both Customs.
The project is expected to take off on June 20 when it will be formally launched by both Customs.
Speaking at a stakeholders sensitisation: ‘Nigeria-Benin Customs Connectivity for Border Seamless Transactions,’ Hameed Ali, Comptroller General of Customs, who was represented by Assistant Comptroller General in charge of ICT, Benjamin Aber, said the single declarations made at either of the countries will be electronically accessible to both countries.
He added that importers do not need to declare a second time during transit.
Ali told importers and exporters that the system would be trader friendly, increase revenue, prevent smuggling and promote trade within the two countries.
On the efficiency of the system, he said the system will be protected from hacking and also from any form of disruption.
“Importers and exporters from both countries don’t have anything to fear. The system is being designed that both importers and exporters can relate with the Customs of the two countries. The system is user-friendly as it enable you to chat and lodge your complains at any time,” he said.
He therefore, allayed fears of likelihood of reneging by Benin as the case in the past saying officers on the project are committed to its success.
Also, director general of Benin Republic Customs, Sacca Boco Innousa Charles said the initiative will reduce smuggling and facilitate trade within the two countries.
He described the initiative as a dream come true, adding that moves for achieving the initiative began about 15 years ago when leaders of both countries initiated the inter connectivity system.
He said the new initiative is a model that will draw attention to Krake/Seme borders. Saying It will serve as an example for other customs administrations to replicate from other countries.
“The new mechanism is a fall out of previous meetings between Nigerian President and Benin President. Our presidents held a meeting 15years ago in Badagry. I was there and today the efforts of both countries is about yielding results.
“I was a member of the economic watch committee. I never knew I will be here to be part of those seeing it come real. This forum is about sharing and knowing responsibilities , to improve our incomes as various economies. We should continue as partners in building a better economies for our two countries.”