The Senate, yesterday, rejected the Federal Government’s ban on the importation of vehicles through the land borders in the country.
The Senate also called on the Customs Service to immediately suspend further action on its policy of an outright ban on the importation of vehicles through the country’s land borders as from January 1, 2017.
The Senate also directed its Committee on Customs and Excise to probe the circumstances that led to the sudden decision of the Federal Government on the issue of the importation of vehicles through the land borders.
According to the Senate, it became pertinent to stop the action of government because it was not only anti-people policy, but capable of further impoverishing Nigerians.
Decisions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North.)
Even with the opposition to the policy, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (retd), has directed operatives of the Headquarters Compliance Team and Federal Operations Units of the Service to ensure strict implementation of the government policy on non importation of vehicles through the land border.
A statement by the acting Public Relations Officer of the Service, Jospeh Attah, noted that smugglers take advantage of the “porous border or compromise some Customs Officers and that of other agencies to short change the nation,” adding “Despite Nigeria’s bigger and more equipped port facilities, statistics has shown that more than 90 percent of vehicles imported to neighbouring countries are normally on transit to Nigeria.
“Though duty rates chargeable for motor vehicles at both land borders and seaports remain the same, importers of these vehicles exploit the informality of land border trade, since they are not usually manifested for Nigeria ports to either smuggle through the porous border or compromise some Customs officers and that of other agencies to short change the nation.”