Importer criticises customs over plans to shut borders

An importer and freight forwarder, Eddy Akwaeze, has criticised the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), over reported plans to shut Seme border in Lagos.

Akwaeze, who described the idea as absurd and one that would worsen the nation’s economic challenges, advised the Customs chief to seek advice on more proactive and modern management technique that would not inhibit trade but prevent smuggling.

According to the former leader of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, rather than beam all attention on borders in the South-West region of the country, Ali should ensure total watch on all the borders.

He said, ‘’Shutting Seme will not solve any problem; it will rather create a chain of problems like increase in smuggling, robbery and many other criminal activities. There is nowhere in the world where smuggling is completely eradicated. Rather than advocate closure of the border, Ali should advise government on ensuring a more competitive port system while reviewing import and export policies, particularly in the areas of tariff.”

He said over N10bn investments and more than 25,000 direct and ancillary jobs would be threatened if the policy was done without consultation and recourse to due process.

According to him, Seme border plays host to many legitimate business activities with higher revenue for government while promoting regional integration under the aegis of Economic Community of West African States.

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