By: Joy Enamuna
Freight Forwarders operating in Nigerian ports on Monday held a Town Hall meeting to address the challenges affecting their operations in the ports .
The Freight Forwarders comprising of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA) National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders ( NAGAFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents ( NCMDLCA), National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators ( NAFFAC) and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders ( AREFF) organise the town hall meeting with the theme ” Way Forward on Challenges Militating against Cargo Clearance”.
Speaking on behalf of the other Association’s Presidents to declare the event open, the Acting National President of ANLCA, Dr Farinto Kayode Collins lamented the issue of Freight Forwarders not taking their profession seriously ,when it comes to discussions to draw government and other regulators attention to their plight. He caution them to always attend punctually stakeholders deliberations concerning their operations.
He said the town hall meeting will come in three phases, Customs Operations, Shipping Companies operations and the Terminal operators operations, saying delibrations today will centre on Challenges face by freight forwarders in Customs Operations.
On Customs Operations, Farinto urged the Freight Forwarders to discuss with open minds by pointing out the challenges they are facing with Customs. He said lack of information from Customs, especially on banned items before it is yank off the importation list is causing great concern to the freight forwarders. He said Freight Forwarders are supposed to be informed before any decision concerning them are been carried out by government and it’s agencies.
He decried the recent decision by the House Committee on Customs to suspend First Bank PLC from Customs Duty Collections without any notice to frieght Forwarders , which is now causing pains and hardship to freight forwarders, who cannot clear their consignments or are stocked at the ports .
Farinto however called on all Freight Forwarders to be compliant, echoing that compliance is a two way thing and urged freight forwarders to first of all be compliant, before asking for compliance. He urged them to have robust discussions on the Vin Valuation Policy, PAAR, among others.
On his part , the pioneer National President of ANLCA, Dr Rafiu Ladipo appreciate all the presidents of Associations for putting up the Town Hall meeting, saying it will bring back the good old days , where Customs and other agencies of Government cannot take decisions without consulting them.
Ladipo said frieght Forwarders can make good names if they do it right. He said everybody must be ready to comply .He wish the freight forwarders fruitful deliberations.
The meeting later went into a closed door were operators and the Customs brainstorm on the challenges and the way forward.
Two Customs Area Controllers of Apapa and Tin Can Island Command were represented by their Deputy Comptrollers. For Apapa, DC Enforcement , DC F.O. Alagbo , while DC D. Gaura represented the Customs Controller, Tin Can Island Port.
Presidents and Chieftains of Freight Forwarding Associations, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Association of Maritme Truck Owners ( AMATO) and others were present in the town hall meeting.
For ANLCA, Acting National President, Dr Kayode Farinto, NAGAFF, Tochukwu Esizi, Tony Onyike represented NAFFAC, Chief Ifeanyi Anakweze for NCMDLCA and Bala Lawan Daura for ARFFN.