By Adegboyega Oni
The Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam has expressed concern over the inordinate increase of charges by terminal operators and shipping companies which he attributed to incapability of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the industry regulator, to exercise the regulatory power bestowed on it to stop the act.
Aniebonam averred that the nation is losing huge revenues annually through incessant increase in charges, non- refund container deposit fees and freighting of cargo on Free On Board (FOB) to these concerns, saying ‘’nobody is regulating terminals and shipping companies as they increase their charges despite the fact that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is in place.’’
Aniebonam raised this concern while addressing the press in Lagos today, noting that the costs of doing business in the port have jumped up.
Speaking on the challenges of cargo clearance in the port, he said non-compliance by freight forwarders with the extant customs laws on import and export has increased the volume of sized cargoes in the customs warehouses.
According to him, ‘’It hurts when you see dutiable cargo seized by the customs. This calls for concern; we need to protect the business of our principals by ensuring that we make genuine declaration. Wrong documentation is a very serious issue; freight forwarders have to stop this. We need to sensitize our fellow freight forwarders to do the right thing.’’
Aniebonam declared that NAGAFF is fully in support of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) over the collection of Professional Operating Fees (POF). ‘’We are in support of CRFFN, and there is no going back on the collection of POF. We need it to increase capacity building of professionals with POF.’’
He noted that although NAGAFF has gone to court to determine the status of CRFFN whether as a government agency or private concern but the case, according to him, is friendly and would not distract CRFFN in the collection of POF.
‘’I want to say that CRFFN is not a government agency and we in court to determine this. We shall pursue the case to the appeal level. Our action is a friendly one,’’ he said.
He called for collaboration between the Nigeria Customs Service and CRFFN on licence registration which he believed would curb a lot of irregularities in cargo clearance.