Goods worth N5.3 billion were cleared through the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) and Joint Committee on Commerce (JCC) in the first half of the year. Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Customs Area Controller (CAC), Seme Border Command, Comptroller Willy Egbunin disclosed this while reviewing the performance of the command for the first half of 2014.
The ETLS/JCC is a sub-regional effort of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate trade and foster regional integration among member states.
It is one of the instruments used by member nations in the sub-region to boost their economies through free movement of goods and services.
According to Egbudin, ETLS compliant goods with a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of N5.3 billion were cleared through this command. He said while the revenue loss as a result of the concession to the scheme stood at N15 billion, the one per cent comprehensive import supervision scheme (CISS) collection amounted to N37.2 million.
He explained that JCC like the ETLS is a trade facilitation tool as well as an economic arrangement between Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
He added that it is a bilateral agreement in which goods wholly manufactured in Republic of Benin can be imported into Nigeria without payment of duty.
He also disclosed that as at June 30, 2014, no fewer than 24 factories were listed under the scheme.
According to the customs chief, their relationship with the surrounding communities, their monarchs, Nigeria and Benin security agencies are at an all-time high.
“We have improved on the existing cordial tie between the Customs and various communities, as well as agencies in the border area. Beside the periodic visits to monarchs wherein we enlist their support in educating their subjects on the ills of smuggling, we have also been holding meetings with baales and representatives of various communities,” he said.
He explained that at various fora and meetings, the focus of the command was to sensitise the youths to avoid any unlawful act like smuggling and arson.
“They are also encouraged to report any infraction or strange movements and developments to law enforcement agencies. The law enforcement agencies meet monthly at a joint border security meeting to synergise in promoting the security of the nation”, he added.