An agent is a person or a professional entitled to a commission, being a fraction of the proceeds he generates for his principal in a transaction. This is the practice everywhere, except in the Nigerian customs/freight forwarding industry.
Nigeria customs agent as the cargo trade facilitator is not rewarded by his principal, Nigeria Customs Service, who gleefully declares hundreds of billions yearly as customs duties generated.
‘’This is the saddening reality of our profession today in Nigeria,’’ noted Chief Basil Agbara, a licensed customs agent and an aspirant to the post of the Vice Chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport chapter, Ikeja, Lagos.
The ANLCA election will come up in December and Chief Agbara is promising to correct perceived wrongs which include the failure of the customs to pay agents a commission for duty remitted on cargo cleared out of the ports for which customs collects huge revenues.
‘’Agents deserve a commission, Nigeria Customs should pay us a certain percentage of the duties we pay to them on cargo cleared,’’ observed Agbara, an ex-banker and CEO of Basiduke Nigeria Limited, a leading customs agency at MMI Airport.
He added: ‘’If we are paid a commission as their agents, it will remove doubts and restore mutual trust and respect between Customs and agents. The issue of under payment will not arise again.’’
The Vice Chairmanship aspirant promised to work with any candidate put forward as chairman by the Yoruba. He noted that all the Yoruba aspirants are former vice chairmen, which indicates that they are eminently qualified to be chairman.
‘’I am not only acceptable to the Yoruba, but all the other three ethnic groups at MMA including the Arewa, the South South and Ndigbo. My acceptability cuts across all divides, across tribes; the Yoruba are urging me on, while the Ibos see me as the best.’’
Agbara who is the incumbent Public Relations Officer of ANLCA MMA promised to help agents in the aspect of computer education in order to meet up with international best practices. ‘’I want them to be able to defend the profession anywhere anytime. We will therefore avail them with computer experts to teach them both practically and theoretically, the rudiments of ASYCUDA and general computing for freight and cargo management. My experience in shipping and banking over 30 years I will deploy for the benefit of my colleagues.’’
On the welfare of all ANLCA members, Basil Agabara said he will collaborate with his chairman and the entire executive to provide a standard canteen befitting of agents status, while decent toilets shall be built and compartmentalised for male and female users. ‘’We will provide these and a waiting ambulance placed strategically for health delivery,’’ he promised.