• Friday, December 08, 2023
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Nigeria, Benin to strengthen bilateral relations

Customs empowers officers to boost border security using technology

…mulls of reopening of border

The Nigerian government has commenced moves to strengthen bilateral relations and trade ties with neighbouring Republic of Benin.

This was disclosed at the end of a 2-day working visit of Alain Hinkati, the director-general of Customs, Benin Republic, to Nigeria.

According to Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, the acting comptroller-general of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the visit was in furtherance of ongoing efforts to enhance customs administration, regional cooperation and trade facilitation between the both countries.

Speaking on the promotion of ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme, Adeniyi explained that the relevant department within the Nigeria Customs Service has been entrusted with the task of reviewing the current impediments to the ECOWAS trade liberalisation scheme to chart practical ways forward.

“Our objective remains steadfast: to stimulate economic growth, foster regional integration, and nurture prosperity among our nations.

Read also: Nigeria-Benin Republic investment summit to create conducive environment for businesses

“The occasion we celebrate today marks a significant milestone in our journey to strengthen collaboration, eliminate barriers, and promote legitimate trade within the West African region.

“On reducing barriers along trade corridors, in collaboration with the inspector-general of the Nigeria Police, we have undertaken substantial measures to reduce barriers along our trade corridors. By addressing these challenges, we are fostering a more conducive environment for legitimate trade to flourish,” he said.

Speaking further, the Nigeria Customs boss noted the ongoing effort to ensure the integration of IT systems with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to promote effective monitoring and regulation of cross-border vehicles so as to curb illegal movement of vehicles into the country.

He also hinted at initiatives to harmonise the list of products prohibited in Nigeria. This step, according to him, would promote consistency and facilitate smooth trade relations with partners.

Ibrahim Adamu, an assistant comptroller-general, strategic research and policy, NCS, who presented the resolutions of the meeting, said that top of issues addressed were the request for reversal of Nigeria’s policy on the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border.

According to him, the visit was focused on providing trade resolution in line with the desire of both countries to enhance trade.

Read also: Nigeria Customs in new agreement with Benin to facilitate trade

“The aim of this visit is to strengthen our shared commitment to enhance trade facilitation and commercial ties between the two countries.

In his remarks, Hinkati, the director-general of Customs, Republic of Benin said, “We have worked to identify the right path that will enable us to have concrete results in addressing trade bottlenecks.

“We decided to take steps, including the creation of clearing window points in Nigeria as well as Benin; this will help us facilitate trade.

“We also want to address the prohibition of goods, which is affecting trade. We are setting up a committee that will review the list of prohibited products,” he said.