In its continuous effort to facilitate trade, the Nigeria Customs Service has began a sensitisation move to coordinate border management operations which will enable stakeholders have seamless operations and facilitate trade between Nigeria and Republic of Benin.
Speaking, during a Stakeholders’ sensitisation programme between Nigeria Customs Service and Benin Customs at Seme, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) gave the assurance that the system will be protected from any form of hacking.
Representing the CGC, ACG ICT and Modernization, Aber Benjamin analysisthe economic benefits the inter-connectivity will bring for both countries in the aspect of trade facilitation.
He said the two customs operators have succeeded with the use of modern tools for inter-border clearance of goods to answer all the questions involved in inter-border trading.
Adding that customs declaration should be done once since there would be single declaration for both countries.
According to him, the system will deal with corrupt tendencies with increased security, while the electronic connectivity will facilitate trade and reduce cost of doing business.
He added that deployment of non-intrustive equipment such as scanners will deal with the challenges of trans-border crimes including insurgencies as the electronic platform will integrate the two countries Single Windows trade platforms and also improve the compliance to trade regulatory and fiscal policy measures of both countries.
ACG Aber further said that the platform will create effective, predictable and transparent risk management system and reduction in smuggling activities in both countries and Economic Community of West Africa States.
He explained that both the NCS and Benin Customs held and agreed on coordinated border management to enhance Ease of Doing business and reduce time spent on border trading.
The bilateral connectivity of all World Customs Organisation (WCO) members, according to Aber had been launched, adding that the Nigeria-Benin Customs Connectivity was established to be the first connectivity centre.
He disclosed that the connectivity centre between the two countries would be launched soon by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Comptroller-General of Customs Retired Col. Hameed Ali.
Aber said that the platform incorporated other government agencies of both countries, saying that communication technology would be created to stop the communication gaps that could evolve during transaction.
Also speaking at the sensitisation programme, Director-General of Customs, Republic of Benin, Mr Charles Saka, said there was need for customs to work on inter- connectivity which was recommended by the global organisation of Joint Border Post that was built by ECOWAS.
Saka said that the presidents of both countries met in Badagry 14 years ago to showcase their efforts in improving the inter- border trade which led to the connectivity platform intend to establish to facilitate trade.
Adding his words, the representative of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr Nurudeen Audi, urged Customs of both countries to involve other government agencies at the borders in the connectivity project.
Also speaking at the programme, the representative of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mrs Layo Okeowo, Commend Customs of the two countries for initiating the connectivity platform project. She said its a beautiful idea and advised them not to allow human factor to hinder the success of the project.