Business

Importers lament loss of N2trn goods at land borders

After losing N2 trillion goods at the closed land borders, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which is coordinating the border closure exercise, has approved the release of goods stuck at Seme Border.

 

It was learnt that some of the goods, which are perishable, had decayed, having stayed for a long time in the heat.

The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) explained that their members had lost over N5 trillion to smuggling, while their goods were detained at the borders since August 20, 2019.

Managing Director of Sceptre Consult, Jayeola Ogamode, noted that Nigeria had become  dumping ground for smuggled goods despite joint patrol by security agencies, saying that Nigerians had not seen the impact of banned rice, maize, palm oil and wheat on local agricultural produce, which government is trying to protect.

He explained that some goods with duty paid valued of N2 trillion owned by manufacturers had perished on the road, saying that some importers took bank loans to move the goods to their destinations.

The managing director stressed that over 1,000 trucks laden with export goods were detained at the borders since August, 20, 2020, while foreign goods entered the country through various borders across the states with impunity.

Ogamode said: “Nigerian markets and stores are still filled with imported rice, wheat, vegetable oil and other agricultural produce. What is the essence of border closure if we can still see foreign rice one year after?”

It would be recalled that President of Local Manufacturers and Exporters under the auspice of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG), Chief Ede Dafinone, also said that members’ goods were still trapped at the border, having paid over N5 billion as duty to Nigeria Customs Service.

Dafinone said that government’s position on border closure was a disaster to MANEG members, who do business across the borders.

He explained that some firms had been given contracts and paid in advance to deliver goods, which they could not supply till date because of the border closure.

 

However, in a letter by Major General E.A. Ndagi, on behalf of the National Security Adviser, dated November 13, 2020, the approval to release the goods were granted.

 

It was learnt that the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Seme Border chapter, had, in a letter to the National Security Adviser, appealed for the release of goods trapped at Seme, arguing that import duty had been paid on the goods before the abrupt border closure.

 

The letter reads: “I am directed to respectfully refer to letter

NCS/INV711/020/ABJ/HQ dated November 19, 2020 and to convey the National Security Adviser’s approval for the release of goods held up at Seme Border due to the on-going partial border closure.

“The goods are being cleared by the Association of the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) as detailed at Enclosure 1. Accordingly, the Nigeria Customs Service is kindly requested to facilitate the release in line with extant regulations.”

Last week, it was revealed that government granted approval to Dangote, BUA and an unnamed gas firm to export across the nation’s borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The President of ANLCA, Tony Iju Nwabunike, also said that the association, at a recent meeting in Abuja, had secured assurance from government that the borders would be reopened.

Nwabunike said that it was worrisome that cargoes on transit and mobile assets like trucks laden with goods worth over N130 billion belonging to private businesses were trapped since August 18 when the borders were shut.

 

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