By Milcah Tanimu
In a recent development, the acting Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Adewale Adeniyi, revealed that Nigerian importers would soon have the opportunity to clear their goods from the ports located in Cotonou, Benin Republic. This announcement came after a productive two-day working visit by the director-general and senior officials of the customs service of Benin Republic to Abuja.
During the meeting, customs personnel from both nations entered into various agreements aimed at strengthening trade relations between Nigeria and Benin Republic and cracking down on smuggling activities. Adeniyi emphasized the importance of building trust in the systems of both countries, allowing importers to use ports on either side of the border.
Under this agreement, Nigerian importers interested in utilizing the Cotonou ports will be able to clear their goods there, including paying duties for items subject to duty payment. These duties will be accounted for at the arrival ports, granting importers the freedom to enter Nigeria seamlessly.
Adeniyi explained that this process would be similar to clearing goods through ports in Lagos or Port Harcourt, though the necessary steps to achieve this goal would need to be worked out. Establishing clear timelines for achieving this milestone was discussed in the meeting’s communique.
Adeniyi highlighted that this partnership between Nigeria and Benin Republic would significantly enhance customs administration, trade facilitation, and regional cooperation. He described the occasion as a significant milestone in their efforts to promote legitimate trade within the West African region, eliminate trade barriers, and strengthen collaboration.