The Comptroller-General of Customs, (CGC) Col. Hamid Ali, (rtd) has directed the immediate removal of all illegal Customs check-points, across the country.
The directive was contained in a circular CNS/ENF/ABJ/032/S.35, issued yesterday, in Abuja, by the Acting Deputy Comptroller of Customs in charge of Enforcement, Inspection and Investigation, Mr. A.A. Dangaladima. He said that the circular was sequel to the directive of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in the present administration’s determination to make doing business easier for the private sector, considered as the engine of growth.
According to the Customs authorities, any check-point beyond 40 kilometers from the border would be deemed illegal. “The 40 km radius applies only to the borders. Consequently, there should be no check-points with the ports”, it said further. It also clarified that Information Patrols beyond that point should not last more than 224 hours at any given time.
According to the circular, only two check-points at Agbara and Gbaji are approved along the Lagos-Badagry-Seme Road. It warned that Zonal Coordinators, Comptrollers FOUs, CACs CIU and other units would be held responsible for flouting the directive. In a July 18, 2017 memo to the CGC, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (Office of the Vice President), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who is also the Secretary of the PEBEC directed immediate implementation of the new reform initiative.
The CGC would be expected to give a status update on its implementation at the next meeting of the PEBEC on August 15. Timely clearance of goods at ports and the removal of obstacles to free movement of goods and people across the country was a major initiative of the Ease of Doing Business initiatives of the federal government, for which Acting President Yemi Osinbajo recently issued some Executive Orders.