The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on the Federal Government to reverse the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders. The group said the new government policy which would take effect from January 1, 2017, would lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs.
ANLCA said beyond the expected job losses, smuggling through illegal and unmanned routes would be activated by smugglers.
Chairman of the Seme Chapter of the association, Alhaji Bisiriyu Lasisi Fanu, said the over N600 million monthly revenue accruable to government would be lost if the ban takes effect.
“The ban on vehicle importation through the land borders will adversely affect the well-being of about 500,000 Nigerians and millions of other nationals who are involved in legitimate businesses and trade facilitation along Lagos – Abidjan Corridor.
“Importation of vehicles through this route has indeed created employment opportunities like driving, small scale trading, food vending, freight forwarding, customs licensed brokerage related businesses, insurance and allied businesses.”
He also said that despite the job losses, the federal government will also lose revenue due to massive smuggling activities through unapproved routes.
He said, “such policy in the past had led to serious revenue leakages and massive smuggling along the border areas and there was concomitant wastage of both human and material resources in that regard.
“President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 immediately after his election reversed and changed that policy by opening the land borders for duty payment which has consistently improved the revenue collections on vehicles.”
“Once this policy is enforced all unapproved access routes will be activated by smugglers and smuggling will increase tremendously.
“Nigerian government generates enough revenues on vehicle importations through the land borders; Seme Customs Area Command alone generates above N600 million monthly, on vehicles duties.
“This figure was undoubtedly part of the projected budget for 2016 and if proper measures are in place, we should not be talking of borrowing N30 billion to fund this year’s budget”.