The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has activated the second stage of Trade Compliance engagement in the Customs Ports and approved Border Stations. This is sequel to the establishment of a five-man Committee of Special Duty Response Team to compliment the efforts of the general duty Committee members of the Trade Compliance team at Zones and Area Commands of the Customs Ports and Border Stations nationwide.
In a press statement sent to newsmen recently, the association maintained that this has become necessary for the obvious reason that the operational structure of NAGAFF does not permit the leadership of the Compliance Team at the Zones and Area Commands to hook-up with the Headquarters of the Nigeria Customs Service, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, NAFDAC, NDLEA, NSC, NIMASA, NPA, etc over their activities other than the authority of NAGAFF Headquarters to do so. This presupposes that the Headquarters of the various Government Agencies and Parasatals designated at the Nigeria entry points may not be familiar and conversant with the activities of the NAGAFF Trade Compliance Team at the Customs Ports and approved Border Stations.
Accordingly, the vacancy created is to be filled up for higher stakes at this second stage of Trade Compliance engagements. This simply translates to the fact that any observations made by the Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim led Compliance Team at the various Commands level shall be forwarded to the home offices of the affected Government Agencies for further action. It is our hope that Nigerians and the international community coming to transact businesses in our Ports and Borders shall be circumspect and law abiding in their dealings by observing and upholding the approved Standard Operating Conditions in our country.
We must observe that the Compliance Team of NAGAFF shall zero their tolerance level on the Agents of the Government who are under oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of Nigeria. They do not have any reason whatsoever to connive with the trading community to cheat Government they ought to serve and protect. Loyalty to Government must be absolute on the part of the Agents of the Government. Therefore, we are simply insisting, under the canopy of Compliance Trade rule that the Agents of Government should uphold their responsibility to enforce regulations because laws are made to be obeyed and or enforced. Indeed, obedience to the rule of law is the key to a peaceful society, friendship and development.
The Compliance Team of NAGAFF at the Headquarters shall without fear or favour, highlight names of Government officials who may be aiding and abetting crime against the Nigerian State in the Customs Ports. Make no mistake to understand that a business man has only one thing in mind (which is to make profit) and may not care so long as his actions translate to higher profit margin. He would go ahead to take the risk under the doctrine that business in itself is a risk. It is, indeed, most unfortunate but that is the situation on ground.
NAGAFF is of the belief that Government may be conversant and familiar with this kind of negative belief of the trading community and so decided to deploy its officials to protect the interest of the Government and the State. It shall, therefore, be an act of disloyalty and unpatriotism on the part of any Agent of the Government to connive with the trading public to cheat the same Government he swore an oath to serve and protect. The Compliance Team of NAGAFF Headquarters shall definitely look out for this kind of officers in the Customs, Police, NDLEA, NAFDAC, NSC, Immigration, SON, NIMASA, etc who connive with the public to cheat Nigeria.
We need to emphasis that the Government shall enhance the welfare of Government Agents so as to increase their productivity level. Government shall also make further efforts in the area of Public Policy Advocacy to educate and enlighten the trading community on matters of Compliant to Trade rules. The importance of Compliance to Trade rules cannot be overemphasized. When we observe trade rules, FOU, CGC STRIKE FORCE, CUSTOMS POLICE, SON ENFORCEMENT, VARIOUS ALERTS, PCA ETC will fizzle out and die natural death.
Other advantages include but not limited to increased Revenue collection, enhance security of the State, even competitiveness, FRIENDSHIP, enhanced productivity, investment destination and technical competence.
We want to appreciate the professional competence of the Customs Area Comptroller in-charge of Apapa Port, Yusuf Malanta, for raising the bar to sanction some of the Bonded Terminals under his supervision, which are operating below the approved standard requirement. This we consider as Compliance in action for the good of Ports productivity.