The president of the Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS), Rev. Jonathan Nicol has engaged the Director General (DG) of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Dr. Joseph Odumodu in a battle of words over the relevance of SON Caps in the industry.
The President of SALS, Rev. Nicol recently called for the scrapping of SON Caps, describing it as too tedious and one of the reasons some shippers have left the Nigerian shores but the DG SON Dr. Odumodu fired back, stating that shippers that have problems with SON Caps are the non-compliant ones.
“Some shippers have migrated from Nigeria to other African countries and one of the reasons is as a result of the cumbersome process such as the SON Caps which is unnecessary. It should be scrapped because it is too expensive and too tedious”, Nicol stated in a recent interview with MMS Plus.
While addressing journalists after a training programme for clearing agents at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Odumodu fired back, saying that the challenges highlighted by the shippers are only experienced by those who are non-compliant.
Odumodu explained that compliant importers would get their SONCAP certificate which is transmitted electronically before importation is done; thereby facilitating trade but Rev. Nicol posited that SON Cap is a frivolity which negates trade as it causes delay for shippers who want to clear their cargoes from the port.
Odumodu insists that SON Cap would not be scrapped because it wasn’t a SON project; he said it is a project initiated by the Federal Government and which comprises other relevant government agencies. He added that the agency created a window for those non-compliant three months ago to clear the backlog of their cargoes already at the port. He said that this will close by December 10, 2015.
“Yes there are challenges, but they are not associated with the normal processing of SON Cap. SON Cap has been made easier and the human contact is no longer there, you don’t need to go to our SON office to process it, where we are having challenges is area of non-compliance” Odumodu noted.
By Kenneth Jukpor