Inaugurates South-East Compliance Team
Nigerian freight forwarders have been warned against allowing importers to use their names as consignees to ship cargoes into the country. Many of such cargoes are sometimes dangerous items or right duties not paid, and the freight forwarders whose names are used as the consignees instead of the rightful importers are liable for the wrongdoing.
The National Coordinator, 100 % Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, gave the warning in Port Harcourt, Rivers State while inaugurating the South-East Zone of the team during the week.
It would be recalled that in 2020, the Founder of NAGAFF Dr. Boniface Aniebonam set up the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team to enforce compliance with import and export rules of the government by NAGAFF members to quicken speedy clearance and release of cargo from the ports.
Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko noted that many freight forwarders have landed in the Police and Customs net as a result of this unprofessional act, saying that there is no ignorance in the law.
While advising the newly inaugurated members to desist from involving themselves in any act that would jeopardize their business or tarnish the image of the Compliance Team, Tanko urged freight forwarders to always insist on importers using their names to ship their consignment in order to avert the consequences,
”I want to advise my colleagues to desist from doing the wrong thing. Don’t allow importers to use your name to ship or import any cargo. Please allow the owners (importers) to ship their cargoes in with their names. An importer who is opening FORM ‘M’ with another person’s name, he is doing that because of the dangerous nature of the cargo; running away from being liable for the cargo. Many ignorant freight forwarders are in prison now just because of this nonsense.
”We are in agreement with the importers and shippers association that we are not going to be a party to it if they are caught. In fact, we are the ones that will fish them out. The Comptroller General of Customs is happy with what the Compliance Team is doing. We are not working alone. We are not the agitators of this compliance. We don’t have the power of arrest, but we have the power to speak. When we see, we say something. If you make a false declaration, we will not intervene.
”We have an understanding with the Importers Association. We have signed and agreed with each other that the Compliance Team will not intervene in matters concerning any importer who defaulted,” said Tanko.
Alhaji Tanko who expressed satisfaction with the large turnout of people at the inauguration ceremony including government agencies at the ports remarked that it was a sign of acceptance that government the issue of compliance started with government agencies
In his speech the Customs Area Command, Port Harcourt, Comptroller Garuba who described NAGAFF as a partner in progress with Customs said the role of NAGAFF in Customs revenue generation cannot be over-emphasized.
Garuba who commending NAGAFF on the initiative pointed out that Customs revenue generation is based on a declaration and stressed the need for an honest declaration to avoid loss of revenue and seizures.