The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria, APFFLON has called on the federal government through the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi to work on providing a steady power supply for all the customs formations situated at Ikeja, the Lagos State capital.
Recall that as at today, the Federal Operations Unit, Zone A; the Customs training school, customs warehouse and lately, the Zonal Headquarters of Zone A are all located at Ikeja, Lagos.
Speaking to our correspondent in Lagos on Monday, the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite maintained that the development was unacceptable going by the contributions of the Service to the economy and for the important place it occupied in the economy of this nation.
He wondered how an institution as important as customs would solely depend on public power supply to carry on it functions when it should have augmented the public power supply with alternative sources of power like the solar energy. He added that many times, freight forwarders were left stranded at the Federal Operations Unit, FOU Zone A as well as at the Zonal Headquarters, Zone A as a result of public power cut, thereby stalling their jobs and adding to their cost of doing business.
His words, “Most time, people will be stranded at the place because they (customs officials) couldn’t access the system once the light is off. They depend only on public power supply. What the principal officers do is to put on their small power generator to power only their immediate offices if need be.
“If for anything, Nigeria Customs should not lack electricity because of the very important place it occupies in the economy of this nation. They don’t have light to there. There have been many occasions where once the public power supply is off, they couldn’t do anything. This does not improve the efficiency of the Service.
“Ikeja is the capital of Lagos State but the public power supply is so poor there and the customs is not excluded. Therefore, the management of the Service should make adequate provisions for the place to be powered. The Customs management should think about alternative sources of power supply especially the solar system to power its formations at Ikeja and other commands where power supply is an issue to enhance productivity.
“We appeal to the federal government to give the Nigeria Customs Service light in that place to improve on its effeciency.”
Meanwhile, the APFFLON President has equally appeal to the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi to allow owners of overtime cargo billed for auction the right of first refusal in bidding on the auction.
This, he reasoned may afford the owners of those goods an opportunity to reclaim their goods which hitherto they abandoned as a result of economic and other sundry issues.
He said, “We appeal to customs to give the owners of the overtime cargoes the right of first refusal in auctioning their goods. They (customs) should reach out to them personally in order to afford them the last chance of reclaiming their goods.Some of them abandoned their cargo because the economy of the country could not encourage them to clear their goods. Some of them, their spouses are dead and they don’t have access to his fund or the documents to enable them clear those goods.
“Of course, the auction is good but we still appeal to the CG to give them the benefit of doubt and give them the opportunity to come for their goods because that could be the end of their business life if their goods can be auctioned to another person.”
He equally suggested that a monitoring Committee should be set up to monitor the entire bidding process in order to ensure that the process was time tested and foolproof and also to entrench transparency in the entire process.
Photo: Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, President of APFFLON.
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