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Vehicles trapped at borders as ban on imports takes off

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As the implementation of the Federal Government policy banning importation of vehicles through the land borders kicks off, many vehicles have been trapped at the borders.

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Seme chapter, confirmed this.

The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Command, Mr. Selechang Taupyen, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Badagry that in compliance with government’s fiscal policy, the command has placed its officials at strategic places to curb any attempt to beat the system.

The Federal Government had, on December 5, 2016 placed a ban on importation of used and new vehicles through land borders with effect from January 1, 2017.

“The Federal Government has directed that importation of cars through the land borders should be banned and we are the agency that would enforce it; so, we have started with that.

“The border is close to the point of importation of cars and the command has placed its men and escorts at strategic places to ensure that there is no smuggling of cars through the border.

“We also have a good working relationship and synergy with other security agencies who assist us in enforcing this policy because we all work for the same government.

“We advise the public to abide by the government policy; and if they must purchase a car, then it should come through the seaport, as any vehicle that tries to come through the land border would be seized and confiscated. Violators of the law would face the full wrath of the law,’’ he said.

The Chairman of ANLCA, Bisiriyu Danu, said as at Friday, December 30, 2016, the Customs authorities asked the agents to stop payment of Customs duty on vehicles by 5 p.m.

Danu said that so many vehicles uncleared by Customs agents were, as at this morning (January 3, 2017) trapped at the ports of neighbouring countries.

He said the association went into dialogue with some government representatives to grant a three-month grace period.

Danu said the grace period would enable ships carrying vehicles to berth for clearance before implementation of the ban.

He said the ban would render many car dealers around Badagry and environs idle and this could be a dangerous trend.

He said that the enforcement of the policy would increase smuggling activities across the border.

Danu said the policy would also increase unemployment among youths in the area.

“The Seme border is extremely porous and the situation has been managed properly by Customs officials, but this policy is going to increase smuggling..

“All the unapproved routes would be exploited by smugglers. So, smuggling would be on the rise.

“Also, it would increase the rate of unemployment of youths in this area as many people rely on this as a means of livelihood.

“The government should consider all these factors and lift the ban of vehicles through the land borders,” he told NAN.

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