The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has advised it members and all freight forwarders to follow the standard trading conditions approved by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) and the Customs import guidelines 2013 as amended in the discharge of their functions at the ports.
Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam who gave the advice in a press release he issued in Lagos last week stated that it is wrong for practitioners to determine Customs duty payable under falsehood as a result of unhealthy competition among freight forwarders.
According to him, the need for genuine declaration for Customs purposes is the tonic needed for a professional freight forwarder to be afloat in business.
He stated that every importer was expected to retain the services of a freight forwarder with all relevant import documents and evidence of Customs duty thereto.
Aniebonam further pointed out that the freight forwarders were expected to receive their professional or handling charge as may be agreed upon by both parties in that regard.
He said, “It is a proven case study that corruption act in the Customs operations starts at the traders zone under destination inspection. Please ensure compliance to best practices.”
He recalled that the headquarters of NAGAFF had constantly encouraged practicing freight forwarders to exercise caution with regard to unprofessional conduct adding that it was in the public notice that freight forwarders were currently acting as double agents without minding the consequences.
He pointed out that the inherent risk whereby the freight agent had voluntarily accepted to be the consignee in the international trade was most disturbing.
The NAGAFF boss observed that the action became more worrisome when a freight forwarder who was very much aware that his or her declaration for Customs purposes were in contravention of Customs laws continued to indulge in unwholesome practices was merely an act of sabotage to the Nigerian State and Customs in particular.
“And for the emphasis, how can a professional freight agent sit at the comfort of his/her office and decide what he should pay as Customs duty wherein he/she is very much aware that his/her declaration is a falsehood. The state of the ports does not allow this kind of practice at the moment because Customs are currently blocking all loop holes leading to revenue leakages.
“Aside from the security implication inherent in the practice, it is a situation where in the freight agent is undoing himself /herself leading to loss of expected dividend as a practitioner. We have it on good authority that the owners of imports are in the habit of refusing to take any additional bill that may occur in the process of clearing goods out of Customs control.
“It is also on record that issues of interventions of the Federal Operations Unit and Standards Organisation of Nigeria along the roads are left to the freight agents to bear the financial burden. We therefore advise all freight forwarders to follow the Standard Trading Conditions as approved by CRFFN and Import Guideline of 2013 as amended”, he said.
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