The Comptroller-General of Nigerian Custom Service, Abdullahi Dikko, has promised the Republic of Niger easy transit of cargoes to facilitate trade between Nigeria and Niger.
Mr. Dikko, represented Kohn Atte, the Deputy Comptroller-General (Finance Administration and Technical Services), spoke when a delegation of Nigerian Shippers Council and Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission visited him in Abuja on Friday.
He said the main responsibility of Customs was to facilitate trade and ensure that goods move easily across borders.
Mr. Dikko said the challenges faced by Niger in terms of delay of movement of cargo and issues at the various border posts would be resolved.
“The Customs has tried to see that we ease off the system so that goods can move faster; with the help of Shippers Council the system has been decentralised and capacity built.
“We have officers that are well trained to lead cargoes to the next environment; we have also noted the two weeks delay or more at the borders.
“In conjunction with Shippers Council we will look into the matters and make sure that those complaints are eliminated,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian Customs Service has been mandated to move cargo quickly out of the ports within 48 hours.
He said the arrangement has given a good image for the service and promised that improvements would be made on the operations.
The comptroller-general said Customs would collaborate with Shippers Council and the ministries of Transport of both countries as well as Niger Republic Customs to ensure smooth border operations.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport of Niger, Alguima Abdoulaye, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian customs for the audience given to them.
He said he believed the two countries were one but noted that with difficulties Nigeriens faced in moving goods through Nigerian borders, they preferred to go to more distant countries to ferry cargo.
Mr. Abdoulaye acknowledged improvements in services at Nigeria’s borders with Niger but expressed the hope that areas of conflict between both countries’ Customs Services would be resolved to ease cargo movement.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, said there was need for enhanced trade between Nigeria and Niger.
He said it was not good for Niger to be transporting goods through other countries far from it, especially considering the cost of transportation.
Mr. Bello, however, thanked Nigeria Customs for the steps it has taken so far to ease trade between the two countries.