By Stella Okocha
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called for a thorough check on the activities of Customs officers of various Commands under the Zone A Customs Command of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS).
This appeal was made to the Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) Dahiru Aminu, who is the zonal coordinator of Zone A at a working visit held at the Command on Tuesday while senior officers and press were present.
The National President of NAGAFF, Forwarder Increase Uche who led the delegates expressed their readiness of having a close working relationship with the ACG who has just resumed office at the Zone.
Forwarder Increase highlighted the various challenges affecting the free flow of operations at the Ports which has resulted into loss of government revenue, Ports congestion and loss of lives and proprieties
He said that the problems which includes; non compliance of trade rule, frequent interruption of clearance process, delays in conducting Customs examination, lack of functional scanners, various abuse and reluctance by Commands to transfer containers to Ikorodu etc are responsible for the devastating conditions of the Ports.
“It is no more news that our Ports are terribly in a sorry state whereby Ports users now find it difficult to have access, coupled with the traffic gridlocks leading to loss of business for our members as the Ports suffers low patronage. We would request that you carry out your oversight functions on the various Commands under your watch that should ensure enforcement of extant laws guiding trade practices and Customs official procedures”.
While responding to the critical issues highlighted by the association, ACG Dahiru commended NAGAFF on their advocacy of capacity building.
He accepted that the challenges are indeed enormous but he is ready to use his office to ensure that drastic changes are been implemented to ensure the needed change.
Dahiru told the delegates that issues such as provision of scanners is not the responsibility of NCS to provide scanners but those who concession the Ports; and that the gridlock and Ports congestion is also a challenge far greater for the Customs to handle, noting that activities or wrong practices from some officers on the road will be investigated.
He admonished the freight forwarders to remain professional by providing import and export guideline by way of facilitation of cargo.
He said there is also need for NAGAFF to be a pressure group that check mate the activities of organizations associated to the Ports.
‘I am thinking of having a Silent Public Revolution desk whereby we can handle and resolve cases within the Command that is within my office instead of going to Abuja. I assure you of my support and cooperation, and I will make preparations to visit your headquarters with my officers”.