APFFLON worried over moves by SON to return to seaports

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The African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has expressed worry over the spirited efforts being made by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in recent times to return to the nation’s seaport.

SON, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Nigeria Agriculture Quarantine Service (NAQS) among other government agencies were sent parking from the nation’s seaports by the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in 2012. They were only to be invited to the port by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) when needed.

However, in recent time, SON has expressed its willingness to return to the seaports so as to enable them carry on with their functions effectively, a move which has received the blessings and support of the some major stakeholders in the maritime industry including the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).

But speaking in a statement made available to Primetime Reporters on Sunday, the President, APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite averred that allowing SON to return back to the port would sabotage the National Single Window policy which aimed at reducing the presence of government agencies at port, congestion, cargoes clearing time thereby resulting in accumulation of demurrage.

Ogunojemite rather suggested that SON could have affiliations with the quality control offices of products’ countries of origin rather than wasting government resources.

“SON should promote synergy with other agencies especially customs and other stakeholders rather than being desperate to go back to ports. We need to adopt international best standards instead of seeking avenues for exploitation”, he said.

He harped on adherence to the report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the economy when they visited the Nigerian ports adding that it was time for Nigeria to be among the comity of maritime nations.

While advising that the government should consult and do its analysis before taking decisions as it affects the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, he however posited that “We expected to see SON talking about promoting MANCAP rather than agitating to be stationed at the ports.”

According to him, “SON should come out with a strong proposal to FEC (Federal Executive Council) that will encourage our local manufacturers. They should be thinking of how government will generate money through export of our own products. SON should promote indigenous products that can develop our economy rather than encourage importations.

“Thinking about the exchange rates and the values of Naira should be of importance to SON as one of the means to help this country is to encourage local production especially with this AfCFTA.”

Photo: President, APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite.

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