…advocates capacity development for practitioners
…slams sections of Customs Service for administrative deficiencies
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders(NAGAFF) has urged all freight forwarders in Nigeria to recognise and key into legitimate processes and procedures for trade in order to support the ease of doing business policy.
The National Publicity Secretary of NAGAFF, Stanley Ezenga, in a statement, said the association has always advised freight forwarding practitioners on the need for honest declaration for the purpose of customs examination of laden containers at the ports.
NAGAFF, however, said that the problem actually starts from the point of the importers who make false declaration of their import.
“It is a fact that corruption in the customs operations are remotely initiated by importers at the time of making declaration for Customs purposes at the traders zone of ASYCUDA 3.0 version.”
The association noted that the trend took its shape due to an erroneous approach by the freight forwarders to doing their business, where they simply take a copy of the bill of lading without other supporting documents.
Drawing attention to the right way to go about the procedure, to conform to the import and export regulation for customs purposes, NAGAFF warned that those caught on the wrong side of the law would be prosecuted, while their imports become subject to seizure.
It noted that a lot of goods had been seized by the Customs compliance team as a result of false declaration for customs purposes.
Decrying the dangers of freight forwarders not being privy to the true goods imported, NAGAFF advised all freight forwarders to be “weary of the security and revenue risks being taken for no good reasons.”
As part of efforts to checkmate the problem, NAGAFF urged the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to boost its activities in the regulation and control of freight forwarders and licensed customs agents, noting the necessity of educating and training the practitioners.
The statement laid emphasis that” It is the statutory duty of CRFFN to ensure that the skills and knowledge of practitioners are improved upon through qualifying examinations and certification of individual practitioners.
“Accordingly, we urge CRFFN to steer up all the approved institutions of learning accredited for the training and retraining of practitioners.
“The importance of education and knowledge of the business of freight forwarding and logistics cannot be overemphasized.”
Describing the quantum of seized containers by the federal operations unit, Ikeja, as regrettable, after such containers must have been cleared and exited from the ports, NAGAFF said it was alarming and questionable why an agency of government would allegedly connive with the trading public to cheat the same government it should protect.
The association charged the customs service to carry out its duties as should be, by duly comparing actual content with the declaration made, and take appropriate measures where they discover disparities.
NAGAFF stated clearly that “What is expected of a proper Customs officer is to issue appropriate demand note with penalty thereto where there is infraction on declaration made.
“And where it is an item falling under prohibition list, the proper officer shall cause an action for seizure and refer to the Enforcement Unit of Customs for a follow up.