Nigeria, Benin Republic partner on bilateral connectivity for improved trade

The Nigeria Customs Service and its Benin Republic counterpart have agreed on a bilateral connectivity to create a conducive trade environment as much as they would check smuggling and other activities inimical to trade.

The agreement will be supported by a digitalised single window platform used for trade processes concerning imports passing from both countries.
During the stakeholders’ sensitization exercise at Seme Border, Mr. Benjamin Aber,  the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Information Communication Technology (ICT), said the initiative would address issues of smuggling and revenue losses at the border posts.
Aber explained that the connectivity platform scheduled to be launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 20 would be the new face of trade transaction procedures.
 “It is not good for us in this modern time to be doing things manually when we have opportunity to leverage on technology that will assist us to streamline and harmonise processes that can seamlessly assist us in harvesting the opportunity of trade between these corridors.
“This is why we called the stakeholders that the Nigeria and Benin Customs have agreed to harmonise their business processes of temporary or transit import into Nigeria and export into Benin and to make sure that the process is done once. This means any truck that leaves Benin Republic, the information is already remotely sent in English to Nigeria Customs Service’s system,” Aber said.
Describing the initiative as worthy of emulation by other customs administrations, the Director General of Benin Customs, Sacca Charles, disclosed that the effort was started 15 years ago when leaders of the two countries initiated the exercise.
On the take-off of the bilateral connectivity programme, both countries will be using single declaration, and there will be predictably, transparency, and    significant reduction in the cost of doing business.
Both countries expect improvement in their revenue collections, boost in security, quality trade statistics, which can be used to improve policy formation among other benefits.