Freight forwarder decries duplication of functions by agencies at ports

The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDCLA) PTML branch, yesterday said duplication of functions by government agencies was responsible for delays in cargo clearance.

The PTML chapter Chairman of NCMDLCA, Ari Ayuba, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He said that the application of automated and manual processing of cargo clearance created room for duplication, adding that people often interfered with the system.

“It is supposed to be 48 hours cargo clearance but because of the duplication of duties by the officers, delays happen.

“The [Nigeria] Customs Service should work with the automated system as it applies in other parts of the world.

“Less human interference is required to ensure that the system works effectively and by now, the process should have been faster and easier,” Ayuba told NAN.

He urged customs agents to avail themselves of training in order to understand better the technicalities involved.

“That is why it is important for agents to know the tariff and classification well so that the Customs do not catch in on your ignorance when they should be trade facilitators,” the freight forwarder said.

Ayuba also suggested that the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali, should address the issue of officers raising Debit Notes (DNs) for agents after a container had left the customs system.

“You will go to the gate thinking your container is about coming out; somebody at the gate will just hold your document that you did not pay very well,” he said.

Ayuba said these were some of the reasons why doing business in Nigerian ports had become more expensive.

According to him, the terminal operator will collect his money for the extra days the cargo stays.

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