In what appears to be a change of the earlier resentments that greeted the arrival of Hammeed Ibrahim Ali as the new Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs from stakeholders in the Maritime Industry, the Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) and four other accredited freight agent associations have turned around to endorse the appointment of the retired Colonel.
IMAN, Freight Forwarders Endorse Ali’s Appointment
While communicating the opinion of the groups, the President of the Shippers’ Association of Nigeria, Chief Dr. Osita Okereke, enthused that President Muhammadu Buhari could not have made a better choice by appointing Col. Ali to head the Customs at this critical time.
According to Chief Okereke, “Mr. President did not make any mistake by appointing a retired Colonel to head the Custom, what the system needs is new blood. Mr. President is a General and he knows why the Customs needs a new blood. We are in support of the president’s appointment.”
The associations which are, IMAN, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Association of Registered Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (AREFF), National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and Nigerian Association of Air Freight Forwarders And Consolidators, endorsed Ali’s appointment as part of a body of decisions geared towards a strategic symbiotic working relation that will ensure the growth of the Industry.
Speaking further on why the introduction of an ‘outsider’ like Ali was a good decision by Buhari, Okereke said, “I can tell you that everyone is already panicking because Hameed Ali is a no-nonsense man, Customs officers know themselves and it will be hard for anyone within the system to do right.”
While applauding the efforts of stakeholders of the relevant Associations that came together to consider a way forward in the Maritime Industry, the Deputy National President of NAGAFF, Barr. Fred Akokia said that the coming together of the various freight forwarding Associations and IMAN was an epoch event and a “critical landmark” in the history of the Maritime Industry in Nigeria and it could only portend good for the sector.
He reiterated that the coming together of agents and importers was necessary at this time because of the need for improvement in the operations of the industry. In his words, “What we are all about is the improvement of the operations of the Maritime Industry. We want the industry to operate seamlessly, so that at the end of the day, everyone is happy.”
Among other key resolutions as contained in the communiqué released to pressmen by the Associations was the endorsement of the collection of Practitioners Operating Fees (POF) as approved by the Federal Government, the immediate take-off of the Cargo Tracking Note of the Nigerian Shippers Council in other to enhance the security functions of the government, as well as the immediate implementation of the E-SONCAP of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) by all stakeholders with a view of stemming the influx of substandard, adulterated and fake products in Nigeria.
Other decisions on the document, which was signed by the respective groups includes; the need for its members to comply with import/export regulations and to sanction those who contravene such regulations, that members should enter into strategic working relation with ICPC to stem the tide of corruption at the sea and air ports, as well as at the border stations, and that effort should be made by relevant authorities to ensure that the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS) carry on with its statutory duty in line with approved standards and procedures other than the use of task forces and ad-hoc committees to extort money from practitioners, among others.