What is your take on last week's visit of the CG of Customs to ANLCA and NAGAFF?

Comrade Ben Nde (Acting President, NCMDLCA)The level of excitement expressed by the custom agents and freight forwarders appear to have understated the fact that Ali looked down at them. One would have expected some little doubt and even rejection to underscore his wrongful choice of behaviour. But when the CGC came to Lagos, in some instances he was received with a red carpet while in some, a cultural troupe was hired in honour of him, thereby making him a hero instead of villain. I hope that it does not whittle down the mystique of our administrative threat of withdrawal of service. Chukwuma Agubamah (President, NAFFAC)As CGC stated, his visit to NAGAFF and ANLCA in Lagos was to save both associations the present hassles of going to Abuja through Kaduna to pay him the courtesy visit they had requested. That is fine and alright with us at NAFFAC. However, there is everything incomplete and wrong when he approves a Joint Committee to comprise NAGAFF plus ANLCA only and customs to respond to problems at ports, including airports and land borders. Will such joint committee address Customs-related issues only? What about issues concerning terminal operators and delays they cause? ACG HQ Azarema, I hope is aware that there are five accredited CRFFN-Associations in the country and will bring that fact to the working knowledge of the CGC. That Joint Committee is a good idea but needs increased membership and clearly defined mandate to facilitate trade.  

Charles Ubah (Member ANLCA)To me the CGC’s coming to see us was his last resort because he knew that the only constituency to run to is his own which is the custom brokers. When he assumed duty he refused to see us, they were blocking him to see us who are his immediate constituency. They are the licensor and we are the licensee and he refused to see us maybe because of how they presented us to him. But now he had a pressure from the National Assembly that was why he has decided to come home. We can only achieve success if we work together, we have to synergise both customs and agents and indeed all the major stakeholders for us to proffer solution s and move forward.  Reverend Nichodemus Odollo (Vice President, Shippers Association Lagos State)The CGC visit is the right step in the right direction. However, we need to go beyond that to form a professional legal body that will handle disputes and face-offs within 24hours of complaints and petitions from shippers, Customs agent, shipping agents, terminal operators and Customs. But not excluding transporters and truck owners. This will facilitate cargo clearance and reduce corruption in the port system. As far as Customs remains the prosecutor and the judge there remain tendencies for misjudgement. Dr Frank Ukor (President, AREFFN)There is nothing wrong with the CGC'S visit to the duo of ANLCA and NAGAFF. What is wrong however is the CGC'S refusal to visit the other three accredited associations because one can see very clearly, a situation of divide and rule tactics of the Customs. There is however hope that the CG will still visit the other associations very soon as assured by the PRO of Customs when I met him at Abuja last week. From his explanation, I understood why it would not be possible for the CG to visit the others.   The only danger is the psychological damage his non-visit would have had on our members who would feel that our associations are less important than the other two.  We may even loose some members whose faith in our associations is not strong. The other worry is the Customs not collaborating with CRFFN. What the Customs should have done was to contact CRFFN which will in turn convene an assembly of those under their regulation. But everything will be alright. I want to tell our members not to worry because the CG will definitely visit us. We will be part of any committee the CG will set up. We advise the CG to work with CRFFN so that arrangement for implementation will be total. Mrs Bola Ola (Member ANLCA)We appreciate the official visit of the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali, to Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agents (ANLCA) last week Monday. We are saying thank you so much for making out time to meet with us the stakeholders. We want a quick response to some of the challenges we have motioned to him as soon as possible.  Abiodun Frank (Fin Sec, ANCLA, Tin Can Chapter)The Comptroller General of Customs initially thought he doesn’t need the agents because action they say speaks louder than voice. From the onset, the way he handles the affairs of the stakeholders you will see that he feels he can do without us. But now he has realised that without the stakeholders, he will run into trouble. Commenting about his visit, I will say that the visit is long overdue. He is supposed to have made this visit long before now, so that he can familiarise with the stakeholders in the industry to enable him learn some certain things that will be very useful for him to work well.

 

Mrs Bunmi Ariyo (Member ANLCA)I was there when the CGC came to our national secretariat in Amuwo-Odofin and our president talked his feelings and how the customs are disturbing our work. We expressed our feelings to the CGC and he responded and promised to do something about that. So we are very happy for his visit. We told him about the alert the custom gives us, when the give us the bill of loading and we start filing, they will give us the duty. After giving us duty they will turn back to tell us that the duty they gave us was too low and they will bring another alert. And that has caused a lot of problems between agents and the importers we expressed everything to him. We also expressed to him who they stop us after the cargo must have been cleared. We have some many alerts that we are facing in this port. We expect the CGC to do something so that there will not be any violence here. Let’s take care of our needs from our work. There is no more money here any longer we use the money to take care of customs. Thank God the CGC has promised to do something on that regards.    

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