Border closure retaliation: Shippers groan as Benin Customs imposes N9m duty per Nigerian truck on transit goods

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Nigerian importers and exporters have decried the N9 million duty per truck imposed by Benin Republic Customs on transit goods passing through the country’s corridor.

Daily Sun learnt that the situation forced some shippers to pay more to reroute the goods via Togo port to Nigeria following the government of the Republic of Benin decision to stop all Nigeria-bound trucks laden with transit goods coming from Cote D’ivoire, Ghana and Togo.

However, shippers described the situation to be a revenge meausure over Nigeria’s closure of its borders in 2019, which lasted for more than one year.

Presently, most local manufacturers in the food, beverage and tobacco sector are said to be short of raw materials.

Speaking with Daily Sun, the Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA), Seme Border chapter, Bisiriyu Fanu, said  some people have to ship from Togo port because the Beninese Customs are demanding bill close to that amount.

According to him, that is why importers are putting their goods inside containers and ship it from Togo or Ghana instead of crossing through Ilakoji border because of that demand.

Meanwhile, an economist, Dr. Muda Yusuf,  said that Benin Customs imposing duty transit goods constitute total disregard for ECOWAS protocols on trade and movement within the subregion.

He said the development has been taking toll on Nigerian businesses involved in cross border trade within the subregion. He urged government to take proactive measures to intervene and resolve the issue.

Also speaking, President, Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria  (AFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said it was a revenge measure becuase when Nigeria took the decision to close the border, the Beninese were not consulted.

“So Nigeria is judicially violated the rule of ECOWAS Liberation Schemes (ETLs), which caused hazard to Benin Republic, they are trying to do revenge measurement on Nigeria.

“But instead of them to have stopped trading, they decided to put money penalty on Nigeria. Invariably, it is going to add to the cost of goods brought into the country and violated the rules. 

“There is need to go back to the  roundtable, speak to all the ECOWAS countries and come to a collective decision to resolve the issue,” he said.

SOURCE: THE SUN

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