- Customs Stop 2,000 Export Containers
Nigerian exporters and other foreign firms, who are in the habit of exporting goods underground and without documentation, have run into hitches as the Nigeria Customs Service have stopped such exports from leaving the country.
The Apapa Area Command, NCS, confirmed this when it stated that about 2,000 containers laden with various items for exports had been halted at the Lagos Ports Complex due to improper documentation.
The Controller of the Command, Abubakar Bashir, who stated this, said one shipping line alone was in possession of 2,000 containers without proper documentation.
He noted that there were other shipping lines with varying numbers of containers.
Our correspondent gathered that for a long time, undocumented exports had remained a trend in the country, even as the Central Bank of Nigeria created the Exporters and Investors’ Window to encourage more exporters to repatriate the proceeds of their trade.
The I&E window allows exporters to sell their dollars at a rate higher than the official exchange rate and was created as an answer to the yearnings of exporters, who said they lost money by exchanging their proceeds at the official exchange rate and had engaged in underground and undocumented exports because of this.
Our correspondent, however, gathered that the practice had continued, especially among people seeking to launder money out of the country, people exporting illegal products and foreigners coming into the country to buy products for onward shipping to their countries.
In the past, they had an easy passage, according to the Chairman, Export Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bamidele Ayemibo, adding that the Customs had now woken up to their responsibility and that was what resulted to the stoppage of the 2,000 containers.
The Nigerian Export Promotions Council noted in August that the country was losing N3.9tn annually to undocumented non-oil exports.
Ayemibo expressed confidence that if the Customs continued to display such amount of transparency and refuse undocumented exports from being shipped, the revenue from non-oil exports as well as Customs revenue would increase.