The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), has called on the management of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to enforce due compliance to the rules of engagement by ensuring laden containers are properly examined and infractions addressed before containers are released and allowed to exit the port.
This is coming on the heels of the revelations at the Federal Operations Unit, Ikeja, after the interception of containers released and exited from Customs control.
Describing the action as regrettable, NAGAFF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Stanley Ezenga, advised that before cargoes are released, officers are expected to take inventory of the actual content and compare it with the declaration made by the importer. Where it tallies in all material aspect, it can then be released, and where it does not, it further explained that appropriate measures should be taken.
According to the statement, it is very shameful for the fact that Customs examination that characterised destination inspection regime is so simple and unambiguous.“The question is to ask: why will government allegedly connive with the trading public to cheat the same government they ought to protect. 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.”
Ensuring strict compliance on the part of it members, NAGAFF stressed the need to educate and train freight forwarders for best practices. The statement added that except freight forwarders imbibe the concept of professionalism; the essence of compliance to importregulations shall continue to be like building a castle on shiftingsand.
“Going forward, there is the urgent need for the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), to step up its activities in the regulation and control of freight forwarders and licensed Customs agentsas secondary economic operators in freight business. The importance of education and knowledge of the business of freight forwarding and logistics cannot be overemphasised.”