The National President of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite has commended the Senate over the investigation of the IT service of Webb Fontaine for the Nigeria Customs Service since 2006.
The Senate Committee on Customs recently launched an investigation into the IT services being provided by Webb Fontaine after an avalanche of complaints by freight forwarders and customs agents over incessant breakdown of server of the Customs, which has led to loss of revenue.
The Senate Committee had directed the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the payment of outstanding fund for Webb Fontaine until after investigations of its activities from 2006 to 2022 is over.
Ogunojemite lamented that the importers and freight forwarders have lost huge sums of money to the server breakdowns and urged the federal government to compel Webb Fontaine management to pay compensations to importers.
The APFFLON President who called for a compensation from Webb Fontaine said “We can’t quantify the monetary loss that Webb Fontaine epileptic services has cost freight agents and importers because of the server downtime which leads to more charges as storage at the terminals. Customs and the federal government also losses revenue because the downtime means payments can’t be made for hours and most times for days. I would say that this is a deliberate action by Webb Fontaine to sabotage Nigeria’s economy because the company runs the same system effectively in other nations.
“The widespread reports of network failure, also known as downtime, which sometimes lasts for more than 4 days had been a regular occurrence, leaving Freight Forwarders with humongous backlog of demurrage, thereby trapping thousands of containers in the process. In times like these Freight Forwarders are rendered helpless and even banks are unable to transmit information about duties collected on behalf of the Federal Government.”
Despite the lamentations by Nigerians, Ogunojemite said Webb Fontaine never bulged to offer apology and maintained that the service of Webb Fontaine is still shrouded in secrecy and not visible to the Nigeria Customs Service.