The Senate on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 resolved to ask the Customs to suspend action on its policy to ban importation of vehicles through land borders, which was to take effect on January 1.
Senate’s resolution followed a motion by Barau Jibrin (Kano North) and five others.
Jibrin drew members’ attention to the federal government’s policy to stop car importation through land borders from January 1.
He noted it was reported the ban will lead to loss of about 500,000 jobs by people engaged in importation of cars and handling services in border areas and elsewhere.
Jibrin said he believed the economy of border villages and towns depending on such businesses to survive would be adversely affected.
He observed that since the announcement by Customs, Nigerians have reacted negatively, protesting it is not economically expedient to ban importation of cars through land borders given the dreary effect on the economy.
The lawmaker expressed concern the decision was ostensibly premised on allegations that the nation was losing revenue by importing vehicles through land borders because of evasion of import duties.
He said he was “convinced that rather than stop or suspend importation of vehicles through land borders, it would make economic sense to allow importation of vehicles through one entry border post in each geopolitical zone that has international land border in the country.”
Jibrin said by allowing importation through one entry point in each geopolitical zone, there would be better monitoring and control by Customs, as the land border posts shall become fewer to handle.
He observed that since Customs could ensure the government would not lose revenue by car importation through designated sea ports, “this Senate believes there is no reason why Customs shall not employ the same capability to ensure that every revenue belonging to the government is received by it from importers of cars through the aforesaid land borders.”
Many senators agreed the policy was ill-advised, saying the policy would increase unemployment at a time the government was battling to create jobs for the people.
Besides asking Customs to suspend the policy, the Senate mandated its Committee on Customs to investigate the circumstances leading to the Federal Government’s decision to ban importation of vehicles through land borders.