Contrary to the stand of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) which opposed the proposed proscription of the Direct Trader Input (DTI) Cafes by the end of this month by the Nigeria Customs Service, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has expressed happiness over the development saying that it would go a long way in sanitizing the system.
The National Publicity Secretary (NPS) of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto who made the association’s position known in a press release he issued in Lagos recently while describing the development as a welcomed one added that the move by the Nigeria Customs Service contrary to NAGAFF’s belief did not pose any danger as freight forwarders were not expected to function or perform any customs formalities other than arrange way bills, export documentation, and obtain Authority to load (ATL) from various terminal operators.
Farinto noted that there was no ambiguity in the fact that, Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004, sections 153 – 156 stated clearly that only corporate bodies would be issued with Customs Licenses as Agents, which according to him was in line with international best practice and gave security to the revenue expected to be generated as well as the cargo itself.
“One wonders why an association that claims to be for freight forwarders should be “crying more than the bereaved” that License Customs Agents should not be issued with password. It is obvious that giving license customs password will stop the illegalities being perpetrated on behalf of Licensed Customs Agents by some unscrupulous, faceless and unidentified people hiding under the guise of being freight forwarders.
“Every Licensed Customs Agent prefers to be regulated under CEMA, but registered with CRFFN. We have said times without number that logistics chain is encompassing and can be left for all comers but the area of customs formalities, documentations, interpretation and classification must continue to be protected and regulated by CEMA with absolute restriction. Those clamoring that individuals be licensed by the Board of customs have at one time or the other been issued with license but lost it due to sharp practices and fraudulent activities. I hope their misdemeanor will not compel me to publish their names and licenses that have been revoked under them.
“We at this end have been making efforts that our licenses must be protected by the Board of NCS and we are happy that the various DTI cafes where lots of illegalities are being perpetrated using our licenses names will be proscribed. It goes a long way in sanitizing the maritime industry. We as trade experts should be able to monitor our licenses from any acts of criminality from the impostors.
“This move by Nigeria Customs Service does not pose any danger because freight forwarders are not expected to function/perform any customs formalities other than arrange way bills, export documentation, and obtain (ATL) Authority to load from various terminal operators”, he said.
The ANLCA spokesman disclosed that the Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents/brokers were presently having double jeopardy, having been licensed by virtue of CEMA, which was the ideal law for and being coerced by another law called CRFFN Act 16, 2007, which according to him had nothing to do with a Licensed Customs Agent, but for some individuals and their pecuniary gain who succeeded in lumping customs agents under another law, which did not have any relevance with the profession.
He maintained that it was expect that only transporters, freight forwarders, warehouse owners and may be shipping agents were to be regulated by the CRFFN Act, and not licensed customs agents as it was erroneously done.
According to him,”Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents/brokers are presently having double Jeopardy problem, having been licensed by virtue of CEMA, which is the ideal law and coarsed by another law called CRFFN Act 16, 2007, which has nothing to do with a Licensed Customs Agent, but because of some unscrupulous individuals and for their pecuniary gain, succeeded in lumping customs agents under another law, which does not have any relevance with the profession. One will expect only transporters, freight forwarders, warehouse owners and may be shipping agents to be regulated by the CRFFN Act, and not licensed customs agents as it is erroneously done now.
“It is an aberration for CRFFN to assume that it has the sole power to determine the standard of skills and knowledge to be attained to be a customs agent, because Nigeria customs in collaboration with ANLCA has continued to train Licensed Custom Agents.
“ANLCA is in court to interpret the CRFFN Act that is a double jeopardy to customs agents to be regulated by these Acts. CEMA is expectedly empowered to License and regulate License Customs Agents”.
He therefore warned that should any freight forwarder withdraws his or her services as a result of what he called a noble act by Nigeria Customs Services, every Licensed Customs Agents would not hesitate to terminate the all freight forwarders’ employment in their organization, “since we employ them to render the services to us”.
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