The Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has said that activities of the operation unit of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is becoming worrisome as they overstep their bounds even as he said that Customs Agents are not agents of government hence the 1 percent CISS should be paid to the agents by the importers and exporters.
This is contained in a release sent to MMS Plus Weekly, last week and signed by Prince Obums Anene, Senior Special Assistant/Deputy National President (Seaport), NAGAFF Headquarters.
According to the release, “Whereas our sister association canvassing that the 1% CISS be paid to the agents as a commission because they facilitate the collection of Custom duty from the importers, it is to the knowledge of the Founder that Licensed Customs Agents are not the agents of Customs or the Federal Government of Nigeria. The memorandum and article of Association of corporate bodies licensed by the Nigeria Customs Service is very clear on the subject matter. Licensed Customs Agents are not agents of the Customs but the importers.
The issue of Service charge or professional charge is to be paid by the importers/exporters to the licensed customs agents/freight agents.
“It is also a fact that freight agents are worried over the activities of the enforcement agents of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria who often arrest containers cleared out of the custom control being delivered to the owners’ ware-houses,” it stated.
he said the issue of commission is one to be handled by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders (CRFFN) as the regulatory body of the agents but regretted that the Council has not been able to find its feet to fight all the anomalies which it actually has power to tackle.
The statement also said that since the enforcement unit of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) had been ordered out of the port, they have gone outside the rule of engagement in carrying out their operations stating that the regulation is mandatory that every import into Nigeria except pharmaceutical products and chemicals must be subjected to SONCAP regime for the purposes of quality assurance and standardization.
“This notion is wrong and must stop. Licensed Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders have the duty to educate and inform the importers on the need to ensure and abide by regulations. However effort is being made by the legal department of NAGAFF to ascertain the authority of SON to arrest containers in our city highways other than visiting the owner’s warehouses in search of offending goods or non conformity imports.
“It is the opinion of the Founder of NAGAFF that SON may wish to factor a stakeholders meeting with a view to addressing the operational hiccups and the worries of practitioners to avoid further damage to international trade borne out of additional cost inherent in demurrage on detained trucks
“As regards the alleged claim by the Customs to adopt 1% CISS to earned commission to enable their expenses in view of additional responsibility, it is the view of the Founder that Nigeria Customs Service indeed needed additional money to meet their operational cost, staff welfare, salaries and other requirements. However it is most unfortunate that 1% CISS represented commission paid to private service providers in the past,” the statement read