The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has said that it has succeeded in restricting customs checkpoints along the Mile 2-Seme Border corridor to just two major approved checkpoints.
Director, Consumer Affairs Department of Shippers’ Council, Chief Cajetan Agu in a chat with Shipping Position Daily last week said that the only agency that is yet to obey the protocol of Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) on the approved checkpoints is the Nigeria Police.
He said the council is currently engaging the police to ensure there is no impediment to movement of goods and persons along the corridor.
Agu said the Council was able to reduce the checkpoints along Seme border through its membership of the national trade facilitation committee, a federal government interagency platform with its secretariat at the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industries.
Giving an insight, he explained that: "All of us are members, Customs are there; Shippers’ Council, Immigration, SON, NAFDAC are all members of the committee, we are using this platform to handle it so that when we say something, it is implemented".
"We are very much concerned about the checkpoints leading to Seme Border, the ECOWAS approval is for two official checkpoints, but they are more than that, so we are engaging all the agencies who have been instrumental to instituting the various checkpoints to ensure they comply with the ECOWAS protocol and agreement"
"Good enough, we have been getting positive results, if you travel to Seme now, you will discover that mainly, there are two major checkpoints, the only thing you would now see intermittently is Police checkpoints, we are equally trying to address this by engaging the Police because that road is a sub- regional road, it is an ECOWAS road, so they must try as much as possible to ensure that there is no impediment to movement", he stressed.
Chief Agu also told Shipping Position Daily that recently, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is collaborating with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to ensure that informal trade in the West African sub-region is formalised.
He disclosed that UNECA is carrying out a survey in the Lagos- Abidjan corridor, with the aim of coming up with a reliable data capturing format of trade that takes place within the corridor.
"The exercise started exactly on 28th and 29th of March, UNECA sent a team to commence the collection of data at border formations within the corridor, such as the Seme Krake corridor, Benin -Togo corridor, Togo- Ghana and Ghana- Cote de Ivoire border"
"For now, they have concluded the survey on three corridors, those of Nigeria-Benin Republic, Benin Republic and Togo, and Togo- Ghana, the remaining one is Ghana- Cote de Ivoire"
"The exercise was successfully carried out and Shippers Council equally provided support to the UNECA team to ensure that the exercise was carried out", he said.