NAGAFF Founder, Aniebonam Backs Terminal Operators Over Storage Charge Increment


…Blames rivalry between ANLCA, NAGAFF, inaction by NSC, CRFFN for practitioners’ woes

The founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has said that the avoidable rivalry between the two major freight forwarding associations in Nigeria namely: the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA and NAGAFF to close ranks and work together for the common good of the greater numbers of freight forwarders in Nigeria was responsible for the outrageous increment by the terminal operators and the shipping companies at the nation’s seaport recently.

Aniebonam who disclosed this in a statement in Lagos recently, also blamed the development on the “wobbling and fumbling” of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN to meet up with its regulatory functions and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council whose mandate was to protect the interest of the shippers at macro level shying away from its statutory responsibilities.

He observed that the inadequacies from those backgrounds provided a greater opportunity for the terminal operators to operate freely as business enterprises whose ultimate goal was to maximize profit.

The founder, however, submitted that the terminal operators’ operational costs had increased with the removal of the oil subsidy adding that the urgent need for them to break even as business enterprises cannot be overemphasized.

He therefore, maintained that what should be most appropriate at the moment was for the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to call for an emergency meeting of the stakeholders and the terminal operators to sit and work out a competitive price increase that was reasonable and affordable.

“In the interim, whereas this idea may manifest, the urgent need to stop the arbitrary increase becomes inevitable on the part of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to act and direct accordingly. This may be the way going forward to avert the looming unrest in the customs ports by the freight forwarders

“Whatever it may be, it is my belief that this is the time for sacrifices and hard work if we must come out from the present economic hardship in our country. I therefore, appeal to freight forwarding practitioners to exercise restraint and cooperate with the government authority to broker the unrest for the peace of the ports.

“Dialogue, consultation and communication are the ways going forward in conflict resolution other than violence. It is also very important that terminal operators should always seek approval of an increase in charges from the appropriate authority in the Transportation Ministry and due consultation with the stakeholders.

“We share their difficulties like any other in Nigeria”, he stated.

Dr. Aniebonam, thereafter called on the Comptroller General of Customs, CG Bashir Adewale Adeniyi to ensure that appropriate customs duty assessment on imported goods follow standard operating conditions adding that it seemed that imports into Nigeria were being overvalued at the moment for customs purposes.

“The quest to meet revenue target may be the remote cause other than the pursuit for trade facilitation and compliance to import and export regulations. It is my hope that with the lifting of the ban on the 43 items, that the compliance level shall increase in making declarations for customs purposes”, he concluded.

Photo: Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, founder of NAGAFF.

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