Nigeria, Benin Republic collaborate to boost trade, economy

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) says it is in collaboration talks with the Customs Service of the neighbouring Republic of Benin to improve trade relations between both countries.

According to NAN, the Acting Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during a two-day working visit of the Director-General of Customs, Republic of Benin, Alain Hinkati, to Nigeria.

Adeniyi said that Hinkati’s visit furthered ongoing efforts to enhance customs administration, trade facilitation and regional cooperation.

He said the visit marks a significant milestone in our journey to strengthen collaboration, eliminate barriers and promote legitimate trade within the West African region.

“It is with profound gratitude that I recall our previous visit to our esteemed counterparts in Benin, where fruitful discussions and resolutions were made, forging a path towards more efficient and effective customs practices.

“Today, I am honoured to highlight some of the remarkable progress we have made since that visit and the commitment to solidify these gains further.

“On promotion of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the
relevant department within the NCS has been entrusted with reviewing the current impediments to the scheme to chart practical ways forward.

“Our objective remains steadfast: to stimulate economic growth, foster regional integration and nurture prosperity among our nations,” he said.
The Acting CG said that, in collaboration with the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police, the NCS had undertaken substantial measures to reduce barriers along trade corridors.
He said that by addressing those challenges, the NCS was fostering a more conducive environment for legitimate trade to flourish.
“We are currently in the final stages of integrating our IT systems with the Federal Road Safety to curb illegal entry of vehicles.
“This integration will enhance our ability to monitor and regulate cross-border vehicle movements more effectively,” he said.

Adeniyi said that initiatives have also been launched to harmonise the list of products prohibited in Nigeria.
According to him, this step promotes consistency and facilitates smoother trade relations with our partners.
He added that the NCS was swiftly progressing toward Nigeria’s integration into the Interconnected System for the Management of Goods in Transit (SIGMAT), joining hands with other West African nations.
“This interconnected system promises to streamline our transit operations further and improve regional trade dynamics”.
He said the accomplishments were a testament to the dedication in collaboration with regional partners, adding that the journey was far from complete.
“The challenges we face require our continued commitment and resolve to overcome them. As we solidify these gains, we must also look ahead urgently,” Adeniyi said.

The visiting D-G Customs of the Republic of Benin, Alain Hikanti, had earlier commended the NCS for its efforts at forging the collaboration.
Hinkati said that his visit to Nigeria had provided the opportunity to deepen the issues raised in June when Adeniyi paid a similar visit to the Republic of Benin.

“We have decided to explore the benefits of the opportunities of our mutual advantages.

“We are working towards having a Nigeria clearing ground the Republic of Benin to make importation of goods through our borders more seamless,” he said.