Irked by the continuous sufferings and challenges faced with cargo clearances from the ports, freight forwarding Associations in the Maritime Industry have resolved to put to an end those issues confronting their business.
The freight forwarders under the aegis of ‘All freight Forwarders Forum(AFFF) which gathered in Lagos Monday include National Association of Government Approved Freight forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent(ANLCA), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders(AREFF),National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agent (NCMDLCA), Nigerian Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators(NAFFAC), having one member each in the council. .
The issues discussed include, Jacking of Pre Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) by the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS), Multiple Customs Check points, Multiple Alerts, Electronic Call up System (ETO) and CRFFN elections among others.
The Forum condemned unequivocally the arbitrary jacking of PAAR by the Customs, stating emphatically that it is unacceptable to them.
Speaking at the Forum which has its theme as ‘Way forward on challenges militating against Cargo Clearance, the Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam described the actions of Customs regarding PAAR as an abuse of power.
Dr Aniebonam who attributed the jacking of the PAAR to high yearly revenue targets given to them by the federal government, said it is a way of impoverishing people.
”The problem is the government of Nigeria that give revenue target to Nigeria customs and you people know that this country , revenue is a medium of impoverishing people when it is the word ‘Arbitrary’ make the word ‘Arbitrary’ something that is wrong, something that is uncomfortable.
Speaking also, the National President of Association of Nigeria licensed Customs Agent, Prince Tony Iju Nwabunike dismissed the allegation against freight forwarders and Customs Agents that they connive with importers to make false declarations., stressing that such allegations can no longer be tolerated.
”most times they say importers and agents are conniving. Do we connive from Singapore or from Dubia, or China? Honestly you people should stop this, We don’t want to have it any further,
Adding his voice on the jacking of PAAR by customs, the MD International Supply Chain Systems Limited, Chief. Afam Chukwuma (RFF)who is also the Assistant Secretary General of NAGAFF accused Nigeria Customs Service of refusing to be professional in their approach.
According to him, ‘Nigeria Customs Service is a signatory and the member to the United Nations Conference on Trade and development is a member of World Customs Organisations and there are agreed and signed methods at establishing values and the values are treated based on the transaction values, if you do not agree with the invoice value provided by the importer then you need to apply other methods until you establish that. But, coming to put up a bench mark or jack it up to whatever you like, it is unacceptable, it is unprofessional, it is not done anywhere in the World.”.
On the issue of Electronic Call-Up System, the forum observed that the system has reduced drastically traffic congestion on Apapa roads , but added that a lot still has to be done hence there are still much traffic within the ports environment.
In view of this development, the forum however, set up a five- man committee to look into E-Call -Up operations and report back to them.
*………Agree On Sharing Formula For CRFFN Election……*
Concerning the CRFFN Election, the five registered accredited Associations agreed on a sharing fomula of 188.8.131.52.1 with NAGAFF and ANALCA having six members each in the council while other associations like Association of Registered Freight Forwarders (AREFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agent (NCMDLCA), Nigerian Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators(NAFFAC), having one member each in the council.
Photo : L> R: Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, Chairman Board of Trustees, NCMDLCA, Chief Tony Iju Nwabunike, National President ANLCA, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, Founder, NAGAFF (standing) & Other Heads of Associations