The office of the Vice President, Western Zone, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has inaugurated a compliance team in order to facilitate trade at Nigerian seaports and check port corruption.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at NAGAFF headquarters in Lagos, Vice President of NAGAFF Western Zone, Tanko Ibrahim said the initiative is to partner the federal government in ensuring that corrupt practices militating against trade facilitation are stamped out of Nigerian Ports.
Among other things, he said the team would ensure that importers make correct declarations for customs purpose, while at the same time ameliorating challenges faced by freight forwarders with shipping companies and terminal operators.
The team, according to the NAGAFF Vice President, would also abolish the use of camp boys by officers of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), put an end to excessive sampling of imported products by agencies at the port and bring about a permanent solution to the traffic gridlock at the port.
Ibrahim assured stakeholders that NAGAFF members were ready to comply with government regulations, noting that Customs officers, shipping companies, terminal operators must also do the needful by being compliant to promote good practices at the port.
He assured them, however, that the 100 per cent compliance team is not out to witchhunt any operator at the port.
“We are not here to witchhunt anybody, we are here to do what the law says, we would start from our importers; every importer should do 100 per cnt declaration. Secondly, it is our duty as freight forwarders to ensure that all cargoes are examined by the Customs Services, we are tired of being slaves to government agencies. Today, shipping companies and terminal operators, are just like their slaves, we are tired of this. We have agreed now and we are ready to comply.”
“Our duty is not Customs alone, people think we are here to face customs, it extends to shipping companies, terminal operators and other government agencies. If you don’t comply, then we would do the needful. I want everybody to understand that we are not alone, the compliance team is not alone, we attached ourselves with government and they are ready to hear from us,” he said.
While admonishing his team members,” he said.
“Anybody who comes under my leadership must respect himself, they must be loyal, as you see me, I take instructions from my superiors, same thing, they must take instructions from me. Today, NAGAFF is a moving train, if you are ready to join the train, you can come onboard. If you are not ready to join, you should give way,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Chairman, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Tsanni Abubakar described the NAGAFF initiative as the best initiative that freight forwarders need to help them in doing their job.
Represented by Prince Ozo Chukwura, he urged the compliance officers not to be deterred or intimidated by any government agency or operator.