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Customs waivers: Telecoms services to bounce back at border communities

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In less than one week, the leadership of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has rescinded two of its policy positions found to be counterproductive to the general good and economic growth of the country.

First was the removal of ban on use of barges at seaports which has resumed after the lifting of the ban and the second was the approval of waivers for 66 filling stations located within border communities to lift and supply petroleum products.

With the development, members of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), whose Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) had been dormant since the restriction order in November are likely to get petroleum products and activate their BTSs for service outreach.

Business Hilights recalls that in November 2019, the Federal Government banned the supply of petroleum products to filling stations at least 20km away from all borders, a development that led to an increase in the pump price of petrol in the affected areas to about N600/litre.

“The Comptroller-General of Customs has directed that henceforth no petroleum product, no matter the tank size, is permitted to be discharged in any filling station within 20km to the border,” Deputy Comptroller-General, Augustine Chidi, had declared in November 2019.

However, in a letter from the headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service dated March 18, 2020, with reference number NCS/ENF/ABJ/058/S.24, the NCS said 66 filling stations in border communities had been granted waivers to now lift petroleum products.

Coming with headline; “Re: Approved filling stations at border communities granted waivers to lift and supply petroleum products,” the circular was issued and copied to the Zonal Coordinators, Zone A, B, C and D; Customs Area Controllers: Cr/Akwa Ibom, Kano/Jigawa, Katsina and Kebbi.

Others include controllers in Kwara, Niger/Kogi, Ogun 1, Oyo/Osun, Seme and Sokoto/Zamfara.

Comptrollers Marine Commands, Comptroller CIU/C.P.U, and Zonal Commanders HQ Strike Force also got the letter.

The letter read in part, “This is to notify you (that the) NSA through the Comptroller-General has graciously approved waivers for 66 filling stations located within the border communities to lift and supply petroleum products.

“Consequently, you are to liaise with sector commanders/coordinators to ensure that the products are not diverted from their intended destinations. This is forwarded for your information and strict compliance, please.”

The letter was signed by the Comptroller, Enforcement HQ, Dimka, V.D, for the Comptroller-General of Customs, while the initial letter banning supplies of petroleum products was signed by Deputy Comptroller-General, Augustine Chidi.

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