Nigeria, Benin partner to tackle cargo smuggling from Cotonou

As part of efforts to plug all revenue leakages, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Benin Republic Customs have entered into an agreement aimed at bringing to an end the smuggling of Nigerian-bound cargoes from Cotonu, Benin Republic.

Despite efforts by the NCS to simplify the entire import and export process through the modernisation of its processes, some unscrupulous traders have yet to embrace the change, preferring to continue to illegally bring goods into the country.

Speaking on Thursday at the Customs headquarters in Abuja after a two-day bilateral meeting between both Customs administrations, the Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi, said that at a time when much is expected from the service all efforts must be geared towards improving revenue collection.

He said, “The issue before now was about how to curb smuggling through the Benin border, because Benin has a port which is very busy and most of the cargoes are Nigerian cargoes. We have reached an agreement that we are going to work together to make sure that all money due to the Federal Government of each country is taken care of.

“Lots of issues have been discussed but we have now resorted to having an agreement to resolve these problems amicably and to make sure that we have a common understanding of how to move cargoes and facilitate trade within our borders. I will ask my comptroller at the border to strictly adhere to this communiqué and work harmoniously with the Benin Customs,” Dikko stated.

Responding, the Director General of Benin Customs, Charles Sezan, assured of the readiness of his country to comply with Nigeria’s import prohibition list, saying, “We will do our best to seal up all loopholes to prevent income loss.”

Sezan, who spoke through an interpreter, stressed the need to improve relations between both countries, noting that security issues are creating a challenge which must be dealt with through collaborative efforts.

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