• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Nigerian importers to start clearing goods from Cotonou ports, says Customs Chief

Adewale Adeniyi, acting comptroller-general of Customs

Adewale Adeniyi, the Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), has revealed that Nigerian importers will soon be able to clear their goods from ports in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

Adeniyi made this disclosure following a two-day meeting between senior customs officials from Nigeria and Benin Republic. At the high-level meeting, agreements were reached to boost trade relations and combat smuggling.

Adewale said, “We are building confidence in the system offered by the Republic of Benin; our importers are using their ports, and vice versa. If there are people in Benin Republic who want to use our ports, we try to build trust in our systems.

“And by virtue of this agreement, what it means is that Nigerian importers willing to use the ports in Cotonou can have their goods cleared in those ports because there would be an opportunity for them to pay duties on goods that are liable for payment of duties.

“We can account for the duties on those goods in the ports of arrival. So they will now be free to enter Nigeria.”

On addressing the high case of vehicle smuggling within that route, he said, “It goes beyond vehicles. Any goods arriving in Cotonou ports, duty can be accessed, and payment can be made, and from there, it comes into the Nigerian territory.

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“It is just like what happens when goods come in through Lagos or Port Harcourt; it is pretty much the same. But we have not gotten there. We have agreed in principle that we can operationalize this.

“So the steps that we are going to take to get us to that particular destination are what we are going to be working on. It was mentioned in the communiqué that we are going to establish timelines when we hope to achieve that particular milestone.”

This move aims to build trust in the systems offered by the Republic of Benin, allowing Nigerian importers to utilise Cotonou ports and clear goods there, with duties payable.

Adeniyi emphasised that this partnership would enhance customs administration, trade facilitation, and regional cooperation in West Africa.

“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,” he added.