NAGAFF urges Customs to tackle trade challenges
…ACG Zone ‘A’ plans establishment of Conflict Resolution Desks
…NAGAFF proposes working document to guide operations
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) on Tuesday urged the Nigeria Customs Service to tackle trade challenges limiting cargo clearance and the onward movement of containers from the port to their final destinations.
The group made this plea when it paid a courtesy call to the Zonal Coordinator, Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) of Customs, Aminu Dahiru in his office on Harvey Road, Yaba, Lagos.
Addressing the ACG and other officers at the zone, the President of NAGAFF, Chief Increase Uche, said it is imperative for all parties of trade to work together at ensuring that trade is seamlessly effective.
“While the visit aims to improve the already existing cordial relationship, there is also need to address the challenges and improve the trade process, as we talk about the ease of doing business.
“NAGAFF believes in change, and has been supporting training of freight forwarders on dynamics of the profession.”
“The problem of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) stopping containers on the way after they must have been cleared from the port needs to be addressed, because the containers passed through competent officers of the same Customs for clearing”, he stated.
Uche further drew the attention of the ACG to the slow pace at which documents are processed and the frequent breakdown of scanners for examination adding that such acts often gave rise to port congestion.
He added that “NAGAFF has always campaigned against false declaration.”
In his response, ACG Dahiru pledged his commitment to trade facilitation. He said NAGAFF upheld professionalism, particularly for capacity building for its members.
Addressing the issue of broken down scanners, Dahiru argued that the Customs Service should not be responsible for its purchase, “I don’t think it is customs responsibility to provide scanners for use at the seaports,” he said, and encouraged NAGAFF to take on the role of a Pressure Group, and put pressure on the terminal concessionaires for the scanners.
He condemned all manner of falsification (including overtime containers, abuse of fast-track system) being perpetrated by some importers or freight forwarders.
He said: “The issue of overtime cargo, I think such importers do it deliberately. I came across a document for signing and saw that the container was imported since 2013.
While mulling the idea of a Conflict Resolution Desk at the Commands to address challenges that usually occurred, the ACG said he would readily support anyone who did his business legitimately.
In his remarks, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, said both parties must be up to their responsibilities to enjoy the ease of doing business.
He tasked the zone to address issues in the zone and not running to Abuja all the time.
He said that the team of the Comptroller General of Customs should only be around for intervention purposes, after which the team should leave.
Aniebonam urged the ACG to set up a technical committee to include two of customs officers and others from NAGAFF, in order for them to develop and handover a working document to him.
Posted on : December 6, 2017