FG Intervenes To Prevent ANLCA, NAGAFF Strike 

FG Intervenes To Prevent ANLCA, NAGAFF Strike The Federal Government of Nigeria has given assurances to address the issues raised by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) which led the freight forwarding associations threaten to withdraw their services from the ports.

Both freight forwarding bodies met with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) on Wednesday, last week to discuss the headway following a directive from the Federal Ministry of Transport.

The Acting President of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Chief Increase Uche revealed this during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus.

Speaking on the recent developments, Chief Increase lamented that the Nigeria Customs Service was yet to reach the altitude of the World Customs Organization (WCO). He also pointed out that shipping companies and terminal operators have continued to increase their charges arbitrarily without adhering to government directives from the ministries or the port regulator, Shippers’ Council.

He said, “It wasn’t a mere threat; we meant every word in that letter to the President. The benefits of the port concession are yet to materialize in terms of having a port that is user-friendly, automated and free of bureaucratic bottlenecks. ANLCA and NAGAFF met with the Executives of Shippers’ Council and the government has promised to address these issues starting with a crucial conference to be held soon.”

“We need a change because this industry cannot continue in this direction. We are aware that Shipping companies are planning to increase their charges again. We also intend to discuss with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to know if the four different charges they collect from the shipping companies are part of the problems because these charges are having a multiplier effect on cargo clearance and what shipping charges should be. The government collects these charges and they place it on the cargo with Nigerian merchants left to bear the brunt. This means the nation hasn’t achieved anything”, Chief Increase said.

However, the Chief Increase also commended the new promotions and restructuring in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) such as the redeployment of forty-eight (48) Comptrollers of Customs.

The bodies, in the statement issued by National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) urged the Inspector General of Police, the Comptroller General of Customs, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council to kick start a process to restore sanity and reduce the high level of corruption at the ports.

“It is our view that NPA, NCS and NSC may wish to kick-start consultations with the critical stakeholders in this regard for the attention of the Hon. Ministers mentioned”, the statement indicated, if the aggrieved parties would not be forced to withdraw their services from the ports.

“The Freight Forwarders and Licensed Customs Agents are seriously complaining of high level corruption in the various ports and border stations occasioned by agents of Government impunity, high handedness and abuse of office.  The terminal operators and shipping companies are not left out in the onslaught.

“The frivolous charges of Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), abuse of office, intimidation, harassment, extortion and illegal detention of Freight Agents by enforcement Units of Government Agencies in breach of Standard Operating Condition of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and Section 154 of the Customs law.

“At our end, NAGAFF and ANLCA have started consultations with a view to ensuring that Freight Forwarders and Licensed Customs Agents do not withdraw their services as first option in their agitation and complaints, pending the outcome of any intervention as may be made by Government.  The Nigerian ports are very strategic to the ailing economy at this moment”, the statement said.

The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu also stated recently that the associations have only given the Federal Government ample time to react to the issues.

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