…As Kaduna Command assures stakeholders of collaboration to suppress smuggling***
The Nigeria Customs Service and the Benin Republic Customs is set to inaugurate a new website on June 20, to facilitate trade.
The Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Joseph Attah who made the observation in Abuja on Thursday also noted that the platform would be inaugurated at Seme border, by the two countries heads of customs.
He explained that the initiative was part of the drive by ECOWAS to connect all customs administrations within sub region so as to facilitate trade and tackle smuggling.
He highlighted that with this agreement, henceforth, there would be single declaration that would be viewed from both ends pointing, so that whatever is declared at Benin-Republic would be seen by NCS in Nigeria.
Attah stated further that the idea is to have a seamless business transaction that will deal with vices associated with crossed-border trade.
“What this means is that, if you import anything into Coutonu port and once you make declaration there, the declaration will be automatically seen by Customs in Seme.
”So never again, you will declare 100 items there and come to Nigeria to say it is 65 for the purpose of evading payment of duties or concealing what the law says, it should not be brought to the country.
“It is a platform that enables both sides to communicate and exchange trade information.
“The same thing, if one is exporting something from Seme border, if you make declaration, there will automatically see it and it will hit the intermediary platform that will electronically interprets into a French” he explained.
Attah said the platform would save time, ensure transparency as well as accurate revenue generation.
He added that it would also boost security because the project would involve deployment of non intrusive equipment like scanner and other gadgets in the process of examination, adding that when the platform is inaugurated, it would make the border business process quicker, smoother and transparent.
“The platform will raise the level of compliance of fiscal policies of both countries”
Meanwhile, Bashir Abubakar, the Assistant Controller General incharge of Zone “B”, Nigeria Customs Service, on Thursday pledged to work with key stakeholders to suppress smuggling within the zone.
Abubakar, who met with journalists shortly after assuming duty in Kaduna, said the effort was to ensure synergy in the task of policing the country’s borders.
He noted that in the course of enforcement activities, the customs service was bound to work with other security agencies and various stakeholders to prevent smuggling and safeguard the nation’s borders.
He charged all customs personnel in the zone to respond efficiently to all challenges and bring their experiences to bear in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Abubakar noted that part of the issues was the security challenges bedevilling the country especially the Northern region and said the service also has a big role in blocking the smuggling of weapons into Nigeria.
He stressed that the backbone of success of any operation or organisation lies in discipline, and charged all personnel not to be found wanting in that regard.
He also called on the personnel to regard their posting to the zone as a call to national service, which they must carry out within the confines of the law.
Abubakar assured that the command would continue to sentitize the general public on the rules and regulations governing importation and exportation of goods to and from the country.
“Some people go into importation without following due process, we have understood that there are so many items being imported, which didn’t fall into the prohibited items, but those importing them didn’t follow due process,” he said.
According to him, such importers need to be sensitised to follow due process and not run foul of the law due to ignorance.
“The command is going to run a robust public enlightenment campaign for all stakeholders,” the zone’s coordinator said, and urged the media to key into the program to assist in the suppression of smugling in the country.
According to him, the core duty of the NCS apart from containing smuggling is the issue of revenue generation, which he said the zone would exceed the target set for it at the end of the year.