People & Money

Nigerian Importers Will Begin Clearing Goods from Cotonou Ports – Ag. Customs Chief

Adewale Adeniyi, the Acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), shared that Nigerian importers will soon be allowed to clear their goods at Cotonou ports in the Benin Republic. He revealed this information after a two-day high-level meeting between top customs officials from Nigeria and the Benin Republic. During the meeting, they forged agreements aimed at strengthening trade relations and jointly tackling the issue of smuggling.

Adeniyi noted, “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. 

Also Read: Border Closure: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

“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 the issue of vehicle smuggling within the Cotonou-Lagos route, Adeniyi noted, “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. 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 initiative aims to foster trust in the systems provided by the Republic of Benin, enabling Nigerian importers to utilize Cotonou ports for clearing goods, including the payment of duties.

Adeniyi noted, “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.”

Also Read: Nigeria to Introduce 7.5% VAT on Diesel Imports, Diesel May Hit N900

The Nigerian Customs’ decision to allow goods through Cotonou ports marks a significant change from the previous government’s choice to shut down the border with Benin to address smuggling issues. The move is also in line with the new administration’s efforts to normalize Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with its neighbours by re-opening its land borders. 

David Olujinmi

David Olujinmi studies Engineering but his true passion is research and analysis. He writes about finance, particularly the capital market, investment banking, and asset management. More »

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