By Kenneth Jukpor
Despite the outcry by Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and some freight forwarding groups that the agency should to be at the nation’s ports to fulfil its mandate optimally; Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has dismissed these claims.
According to APFFLON, SON can perform its role at the ports efficiently without having to be stationed at the ports, arguing that their presence would elongate port procedures and possibly add to the cost of cargo clearance.
The President of APFFLON, Mr. Frank Ogunojemite who was speaking with MMS Plus newspaper during an exclusive chat, also stressed that the current mode of operations at the port which sees SON invited when their services are needed, is sufficient.
The freight forwarding veteran also admonished the agency to be actively seen contributing to the nation’s economic growth by giving attention to the MANCAP which is a product dedicated to facilitate manufacturing in the country.
His words; “I have observed that SON is only concerned about SONCAP. This is because of the revenue to be generated from SONCAP which is import driven. However, we know that for any nation to have a sustainable economy, it must develop its production capacity and export.”
“SON already has MANCAP with supports manufacturing and leads to exports. How often do you hear SON talk about MANCAP? They rarely do because it doesn’t provide revenue like SONCAP. SON should be focused on nation building and they will do that when they focus on MANCAP”, he added.
The Director-General of SON, Osita Aboloma, recently urged the federal government to allow the agency to return to the ports to effectively curtail the influx of substandard products into the country.
Aboloma lamented that chasing substandard products all over the country rather than waiting for them at the ports and border stations has been challenging to the regulator.
Arguing that it is easier to fight the influx of substandard products at the nation’s points of entry; Aboloma said; “It is important to note that non-involvement of SON at some ports in the country’s operations has continued to pose challenges particularly to the agency’s compliance and monitoring units”
Meanwhile, the APFFLON boss, also assured that the association was in total support of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) move to replace container deposits with insurance, adding that shipping lines have been allowed to extort the nation with container deposits for too long.
“APFFLON completely supports container insurance because container deposit has been an extortion by shipping companies. I have an empty container yet to get to the ports since January 28th, you can be sure that the deposit is lost and I am in debt. I, wholeheartedly, support this insurance”, he said.