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Nigerians to start clearing goods from Cotonou ports – Customs

On Tuesday, Adewale Adeniyi, the acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, said that importers from Nigeria would soon be able to clear their products from the ports in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

At the conclusion of a two-day working visit by the director-general and senior officers of the Benin Republic’s customs department, he made this announcement in Abuja.

During the two-day gathering, customs officials from both nations made a number of agreements to improve commercial ties and combat smuggling between Nigeria and the Benin Republic.

While responding to a question at the event, 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.”

Reacting to concerns about vehicle smuggling, 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.

“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 got there. We have agreed in principle that we can operationalise this.

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

Adewale said the partnership between both nations would enhance customs administration, trade facilitation and regional cooperation.

He added, “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.

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Written by Olusesan Oba

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