Clearing agents, car dealers predicts 40-60% rise in vehicle smuggling, following border reopening.
The FG had at last month approved the reopening of Idiroko, Jibia, Kamba and Ikom land borders.
The borders were shut down to curb smuggling of foreign rice and other contraband goods into the country.
Stakeholders, including clearing agents and car dealers, have predicted a 40 to 60 per cent rise in vehicle smuggling into the country, following the reopening of four additional land borders by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Federal Government had at last month approved the reopening of Idiroko, Jibia, Kamba and Ikom land borders, nearly three years after being shut down to curb smuggling of foreign rice and other contraband goods into the country.
In a circular announcing the reopening of the four additional Nigerian Border Posts, the NCS directed all Customs formations and Joint Border Patrol Teams to ensure proper manning in compliance with extant operational guidelines.
Speaking with news men, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), says that smuggling of vehicles might rise to about 60 per cent with the reopening of the land borders.
“There will be a huge increase in smuggling, talking about over 60 per cent increase in smuggling of vehicles. Normally, smuggled vehicles do not pass through those borders, they pass through unguarded borders.
“Talking about the increase in the smuggling of vehicles, i will say that the newly introduced 15 per cent National Automotive Council levy is the best way to encourage smuggling and then the re-opening of the borders does not help it.
“Smuggling is just a regular occurrence. As we speak, smuggling has not stopped. It is a regular, daily activity. Re-opening the borders will only allow the officers of the NCS to compromise, though that is not smuggling but compromise. The one we call smuggling are transited through unguarded entry points where we don’t have people manning,”
Also speaking, the Lagos Chapter Chairman of the Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria, Metche Nnadiwekwe, said :
“The issue of National Automotive Council will increase vehicle smuggling to, say, 40 per cent. People must always look for shortcuts”
But Mr Charles Nwarienne, a member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), believes that re-opening of the land border would help people bring in vehicles and other goods.
“They have re-opened the borders and we cannot see much coming in from them. Ordinarily, you know that before they closed the border, there were jobs coming in from the borders.
“So, we believe that the purpose of re-opening the borders is to give them clearance to bring vehicles and other goods through the borders. This is my own opinion.”