Home News NAGAFF kicks against introduction of PAAR, Form ‘M’ on Air Freight Cargoes                      … Says Ease of Doing business is impacted with cost        

NAGAFF kicks against introduction of PAAR, Form ‘M’ on Air Freight Cargoes                      … Says Ease of Doing business is impacted with cost        

by timenews
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Pearl Ngwama
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have kicked against the introduction of Pre-Arrival  Assessment Report (PAAR) and the use of Form ‘M’ recently being made a requirement by the Federal Ministry of Finance and Nigeria Customs Service (NIS) to clear cargoes arriving the Country through the airports.
NAGAFF Chairman, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos (MMA), chapter, Comrade Bernard Udoh,  who made the protest in an exclusive interview with Timenewsreporter.com in his office disclosed that the two government bodies had given freight forwarders and importers operating at the airports the ultimatum,  Tuesday to henceforth, clear goods with PAAR and Form ‘M.’
Udoh emphasised that the Aviation Sector was the worst hit by the ravaging global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and therefore expects the government agencies to make laws and policies that would help issues and not hinder progress.
He noted that the cargoes coming through the airports are parcel posts “so we do not expect to have laws that will be cumbersome to us and adding injury to what we are doing. Airport is for Parcel Post; airport goods require promptness not Seaport that takes time. So what’s the need, then go to the seaport instead of going to the airport. The benchmark for air freight forwarders was increased last two years and most of our customers diverted to the seaport.”
The NAGAFF Airport Chapteer Chairman disclosed that his Association and other freight forwarders at the airport have had a number of meetings with the current Controller of Customs, Air Port Command, Comptroller Lena Oyama, on how to address this issue but the latter maintained that it was an order from the federal government and suggested that the Association should rather take the issue to the federal government.
He said: “Even now we still have the problem of Lockdown. The ground handlers insisted that we pay demurrage though, we negotiated it from 100 per cent to 20 per cent; that is what everybody is paying now.
“Now importers are afraid to bring in goods so many freight forwarders, even me personally I am not getting goods to clear.
“Government is not helping issues; Foreign Exchange has gone very high which is affecting the importers because goods will be very costly now. Government should allow goods to be imported at reduced dollar rate.”
Also speaking, the Chapter’s Treasurer, Mr. Godfrey Ebem, emphasised that the Aviation Sector is the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that air freight is time bound and that trade facilitation in air freight is expensive.
While emphasising that the Aviation Industry and others were down owing to the pandemic, he urged the federal government to ease its matching order to firms on strict revenue generation.
Ebem said: “Post COVID, Aviation Sector is down and there is no global flight connectivity. There are some goods our people have in other countries but there is no flight connectivity to get them.
“Government has given matching orders to firms and the emphasis is on revenue generation. Inflation is bound to be part of it. So, we expect the government to take it easy. Now there is harmonised capturing point but there are things that cannot go with PAAR. Are they saying there is no personal effect?”
He however, pointed out that NAGAFF is known for compliance but that what the Association was saying was that formal goods can come with PAAR and informal goods come without PAAR.  “Before now we had formal and informal shipment but now they are saying everything should be formal and at the same time asking for revenue.
“So what we’re saying is that we should be given time to readjust from the effect of this COVID-19. Ease of doing business is impacted by cost. The Aviation Sector is still grappling to settle down; some shipments are already there that are informal and you are saying they should be converted to formal,” he lamented.
On the freight forwarders relationship with aviation ground handlers, he said the relationship had  been mutual, but that during the COVID-19 Lockdown the handlers insisted that they pay demurrage on the ground that they (the ground handlers) did not receive any palliative from the government, while hoping that they resolve the issue they had with freight forwarders at the airport following the tariff increment.
His words:  “We’re the major marketers for the ground handlers, we’re partners in progress. We’re working for them; working mutually before the pandemic but now they are saying they are private entities and the government did not give them palliative. Though we are not benefiting much from the ground handlers, but the relationship has been healthy.
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