By Kenneth Jukpor
The respite for freight forwarders in the aviation sector following the Federal Government’s decision to suspend ‘Form M’ and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) for cargo evacuation was attained by the leadership of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).
ANLCA President, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike said this during a chat with MMS Plus on Wednesday, lamenting that the victory was erroneously accorded to the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON).
Nwabunike stated that he engaged the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in a fruitful meeting on Monday which resulted to the suspension of PAAR and ‘Form M’ at the airports.
While the relief has been a welcomed development for freight forwarding practitioners, conflicts emerged in ANLCA when APFFLON attributed the development to a letter written to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo where the practitioners stressed that PAAR and ‘Form M’ would lead to undue delays in the cargo evacuation process at the airports, citing the Nigerian seaports as an example.
Speaking with our correspondent, Nwabunike said, “Two weeks ago, I sent a letter to the Comptroller General of Customs on this issue. On Sunday, he called me to come to Abuja to defend my letter and I spent 13 hours by road to Abuja. We discussed and solved the problem but immediately APFFLON heard it, they put it on their platform and claimed the credit. I don’t think they know how the issue was resolved.”
“Recall that ANLCA wrote to Osinbajo in March amid the lockdown in Lagos, did he reply? No!”
“I’m still in Abuja at the moment after successfully convincing the CG of Customs to revert to Code 4900. He is at liberty to do as he pleases with regards to Customs activities and decisions.”
Meanwhile, four members of ANLCA, including the former executives at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Chapter, have been booted out of the association as a result of the recent development at the airport.
The ANLCA members were also removed from the association’s social media platforms by former Public Relations Officer (PRO) at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Chapter, Mr. Basil Agbara believed to be acting on the directives of the President.
Industry observers, however, have frowned at the fracas between both association, admonishing them to enjoy the victory with the practitioners saved from the economic burden of storage fees that would have emanated with ‘Form M’ and PAAR.