License individuals not corporate bodies, Aniebonam urges Customs

With the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) full takeover of implementation of the Destination Inspection (DI) service scheme, Founder of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has urged the Service to take the next bold step of licensing individual freight forwarders rather than just corporate bodies.
Aniebonam told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that to set a pace for professionalism in cargo clearance operations, NCS needs o retrace its step and license individual freight forwarders rather than corporate bodies.
He said: “If we are talking about professional standards and ethics then we must realize that it is a human being that can be a professional because a human being can talk, hear and can undergo training and be certified by an institute. That qualifies you as a professional. But with the licensing regulations of the customs which has to do with a corporate body – an artificial person that cannot be referred to as a professional, part of the measures that might come in now to enhance the operations is to identify individuals as professionals not corporate bodies.”
Aniebonam also said that for the success of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) regime there must be utmost compliance by stakeholders especially freight forwarders of which he urged to “do everything possible to get themselves lined up into the system.”

He also said it is high time the scale of charges for freight forwarding services be defined and remunerations for the practitioners given due consideration.
“For instance, on the part of licensing regulations of the Customs, we are not agents to customs. We are licensed by the customs to perform function in relation to customs formalities that means that we are familiar with customs responsibilities. Our principal is probably expected to pay us but that is neither here nor there. We facilitate revenue into the government coffer and therefore we need to be compensated” the NAGAFF Founder stated.
He said with this measure there will no longer be tales of freight forwarders “getting involved in fraudulent malpractices because at the end of the day you are sure of something getting into your pocket.”