Customs Suspends Trans-loading of Cargoes Through Seme Border


…As Dangote Cement Becomes Major Export Cargo

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Nigeria Customs Service, Seme Area Command has said that it would no longer allow cargoes being imported from abroad to be trans-loaded into big trucks and cleared through the borders into Nigeria.

The Seme Command Area Controller, Compt Bello Muhammed Jibo stated this last week, saying that after the border closure and reopening, this was one of the conditions given by the Service.

Compt Jibo stated that cargoes must come in their original state as they were shipped from abroad and be inspected by customs.

He however said the only exemptions are trucks coming from factories within the West African Subregions under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS)

The Customs boss also informed that there has been a major increase in the level of exportation through the land borders, he said that Dangote cement is now the major commodity that passes through the land border.

“When the land borders were reopened, the service gave us some conditions that must be fulfilled before goods can start coming into the country, one of such conditions is that goods from other countries must arrive Nigeria in their original mode of transportation”

“What this means is that goods that are not from West Africa, for example, goods from China and France that are destined to arrive Nigeria but transiting through Benin Republic should arrive Nigeria in that same state they left their country”

“Prior to this time, goods meant for Nigeria, when they arrive Benin Republic, they were trans-loaded into trucks, and these were the trucks that normally come into Nigeria and released by Customs.
But in transit protocols, the containers should not be trans-loaded, they must come in their original state”

“However, goods meant for the ECOWAS sub-region can come inside trucks because they are coming from companies under ETLS” he stated

According to the customs, 60% of the 348,827,775.00 metric tonnes of cargos processed from January to March 2021 were Dangote Cement.

“We have an increase in export cargoes, in 2019 and 2020 Dangote was not operating through this border, but now, if you observe, there are lots of Dangote trucks here for export, for now, Dangote cement is the major commodity that passes through this land border” he said

While speaking on the two scanning machines at the Seme Customs Command which are not being put to use, Compt Jibo admitted that the scanners were having a down time, and that for now, customs is carrying out 100% cargo examination.

“We have two scanners but at the moment they are on down time, even if they are working, if a consignment is a suspect, there is something they call re-check duty, that is 100% physical examination, so in the absence of scanners being available for now, we are doing 100% physical examination”

“Apart from that, I had a meeting with Benin Republic Controller, they promised that if I want, before cargoes get out of their domain, they can send scanning images from that container to me so that we can read, but we may not entirely rely on that information, so we still have to carry out 100percent examination” he stated

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