Reduce default charges to enhance SONCAP compliance – Aniebonam

Founder, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam has advised the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) on the need to enhance stakeholders’ compliance to SON regulations, by reducing default charges for general goods.

Speaking in Lagos recently, Aniebonam said the high defaulting charges by SON are making importers become more daring to be in business even as he appealed that a concessionary charge be granted to defaulters with the objective to stop them from being over daring.

According to him, the target of SON as a regulator should be a concept of bringing defaulters into the bracket of  compliance rather than deploying a process that portray it as a revenue agency.

“We advised that the categorization of default charges be reviewed down ward in favour of trade, SON statutory duty and the economy.  The current charge of N500, 000 per 20 foot container should be reduced to N100, 000.  It is our view that the enforcement unit should be strengthened and made to be more professional in its approach.

“Wherein this process is ongoing, effort should be made by SON to engage importers through public campaign, education and enlightenment on the dangers of fake, adulterated and substandard products to public health and the economy.

“The inherent abuse of due process and disrespect to SONCAP implementation by the stakeholders at the entry points is most disturbing for the fact that business men and women are daring.  In the light of the above it is the advice of NAGAFF that a reduction in default charges should be encouraged on non threatening products with a view to enhancing compliant.

Aniebonam described as unprofessional and awkward the present way of mounting road blocks on the highways in search of defaulting goods.

“The unit should act under reasonable suspicion when a particular import may be in-default of SONCAP rules.  In this regard the unit shall move out and pick such cargo and return to base.

“For the avoidance of doubts it is on record and in-fact that reference numbers of provisional releases issued by SON in the past are being recycled to effect releases of imports at the ports.  It therefore means that the effort of SON to track goods in the port through the NICIS of the Customs may not be effective enough.

“A forensic audit of goods on-hold at the ports by SON shall indicate that old reference numbers may have been used to effect most of their releases.  It is an act of the syndicates within the operating system of the port which shall include collaboration with some of the agents of government.  This is to show the extent SON effort to suppress importation of substandard goods, fake and adulterated goods can be endangered,” he said.

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