Customs Beef Up Security to Enforce Ban on Vehicle Importation

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Eromosele Abiodun

In a bid to enforce the ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has directed its Headquarters Compliance Team and Federal Operation Units to join the resident officers of land borders to tackle violators of the new policy.

Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd), who gave the order in a statement, said despite the fact that Nigeria’s bigger and more equipped port facilities, statistics has shown that more than 90 per cent of vehicles imported to neighbouring countries are normally on transit to Nigerian market.

The statement signed by the acting Public Relations Officer(PRO), Joseph Attah said over 10,000 vehicles are reportedly trapped within 10 days of the policy enforcement.

He noted that vehicles properly imported through the land borders between January 2014 and December 2016 was only 209,691 with N38.5 billion paid as duty while it seized another 5,998 with duty paid value of N10.2 billion.

Ali maintained that although duty rates for vehicles at both land borders and seaports are the same, importers exploit the informality of land border trade and smuggle through the porous border or compromise some Customs Officers.

He has charged the anti-smuggling squads to ensure total blockage such that no desperate vehicle importer can smuggle any trapped vehicle.

Counting the gains of the policies, the Customs boss said the channeling of vehicles to Sea Ports will enable suppression of smuggling, and create business and job opportunities with the emergence of bonded car parks in the country.

Other benefits include the emergence of bank branches and mechanic villages around the bonded car parks to create more jobs, optimal use of port facilities resulting from high vehicle cargoes, higher revenues for governments, and promote collaboration for agencies vehicle licencing and security agencies.

Col. Ali has also urged stakeholders to see the inherent benefits of the policy and cooperate with the NCS as personnel strive to implement the fiscal policy of Government.