My comments on anti-trade practices of some freight forwarders misconstrued—-Tanko
—–condemns Oforbike, Ezeh reactions as unprofessional, uninformed
The National Coordinator, 100 percent Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko has described as unfortunate the reactions of John Oforbike, a Chieftain of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and Princess Chi Ezeh, a member of the governing council of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), to his complaint against the false declaration that is making honest freight forwarders to lose money and customers.
The frontline maritime player is not finding it funny that his complaint against the false declaration of goods is generating controversies when it was meant to protect the businesses of those doing the right thing through genuine declarations.
Tanko, who denied ever saying that freight forwarders are corrupt, said that he only lodged a complaint with the Area Controller of Apapa Customs Command, Compt. Yusuf MI, that the recent jack-up of PARR is making freight forwarders to cut corners by declaring different things entirely.
According to him, the discrepancy is making Importers/ agents pay varying duties on the same goods where one pays N3 million and another pays N6 million.
He said that the variance in the duty of the same goods for different people is making honest practitioners like him who could not cut corners to be losing money and customers.
The Compliance Team coordinator said he complained to the Area Controller to look into it as those of them who like to stay on the side of the law are losing customers.
Specifically, Alhaji Tanko disclosed that he cleared four containers of wine for a customer which attracted a debit note of N32 million.
He stated that the debit note was issued by the Officer in Charge, Query and Amendment which the Importer told him to pay on his behalf because he didn’t have money.
He stated further that the importer gave him documents for another four containers but later asked him to come to his office.
The NAGAFF chieftain narrated that on getting to his importer’s office, he threw some documents at him, calling him names and saying that he would not pay the N32 million because others are clearing the same goods for a lesser amount.
Alhaji Tanko said that when he checked the documents, he saw that wines were declared as used vehicles in order to pay less duty.
This he complained to the controller to save honest freight forwarders who are doing genuine declarations from losing their customers and closing shop.
Alhaji Tanko said he was disappointed with the comments of Oforbike, for calling for his arrest and prosecution because he was fighting to protect the businesses of honest freight forwarders and shippers.
He described the attacks on him by Oforbike and Princess Chi Ezeh over the issue as unexpected of professionals like them.
He stated that the two freight forwarders who are occupying high positions in the freight forwarding industry ought to be on the side of the law as advocates of genuine declarations, adding that they have failed to show examples of good leaders.
CRFFN member tackles Tanko over claims that freight forwarders are corrupt
According to Chi Ezeh, PAAR as it is, is a function of valuation principles based on general agreement on Trade and Tariffs, quality and quantity of the items, and even the application of rules of origin.
Chi Ezeh further disclosed that the industry practitioners are professionals for whom such a blanket label of unethical conduct is not only false but unpatriotic.
She said the cargo clearing system is a chain involving many agencies, all of whom ensure that best practices are applied in cargo handling towards Customs revenue generation and national security.
Chi Ezeh who is also the Vice President in-charge of seaports at the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), stressed that every ex-factory price given in valuation is always approved by the Customs Area Controller while the physical examination is conducted for vehicle declarations by Customs and all other approved government agencies in the ports.
She posited that it is not possible for all the agencies involved in cargo clearance to standby and allow the false allegations raised in the publication.
“Freight forwarding is an ethical profession where the practitioners have high-level integrity.
“The truth is that these cargoes are being examined. So, does this mean that everyone in the entire supply chain is corrupt?
Stakeholder calls out Amaechi to account for millions of Naira in remittances made by freight forwarders under CRFFN.
As Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation is intensifying his campaign to be the next President of Nigeria, an aggrieved stakeholder in the maritime industry, Segun Musa, has called the APC presidential aspirant out to account for millions of naira remitted by Freight Forwarders under the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding practice in Nigeria(CRFFN) which is under the supervision of his ministry.
Musa, a frontline freight forwarder and former Chairman of the Airport chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), claimed that freight forwarders, since the inception of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) in 2007 and as stipulated by the Council Act, have been making annual remittances to the Federal Government through the ministry of Transportation in terms of annual dues and membership subscriptions of the CRFFN,
The concerned stakeholder further alleged that these monies, which have run into several millions of naira, are yet to be accounted for.
Musa further alleged that the amount accrued from the remittances made by freight forwarding companies and individual freight forwarders, may have been mismanaged, hence his call for accountability.
“We are soliciting the support of all well-meaning Nigerians and other stakeholders to call on the Ministry of Transportation to respect the FOI Act and give details of total collections from individual and corporate annual dues from the inception of the CRFFN Act and explain how it has been utilised as well as the law that backed up the usage.
“The critical stakeholders in the transport subsector are suspicious of possible mismanagement of the public funds tagged (annual dues) contributed by freight forwarders into the coffers of the Federal Government under the supervision of the Ministry of Transportation.
“The reports in circulation indicate that the Ministry of Transportation has mismanaged hundreds of millions in naira so far contributed by freight forwarders as the stipulated dues in line with the Act that established the CRFFN from their income aside from statutory taxes deductibles.
“The law compelled every freight forwarding company to pay a stipulated amount as dues annually as well as every individual staff of the companies to remain in practice.
“Despite the inconvenience due to the global economic meltdown and slowdowns in business as well as the biting inflation impacts, members of the freight forwarding industry complied with the directives as enshrined in the law” he noted.
Musa expressed regret that despite the statutory obligations of the CRFFN board to use this amount accrued from the annual dues and subscription to train freight forwarders, all the training so far organised by the Council were fully paid for by freight forwarders themselves except very few that were free.
“It is sad to note that the essence of compliance is due to the fact that the revenues pool would be deployed to build members’ capacity to meet global standards and position them to participate in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“It is most unfortunate that all the training organised so far were paid for in full by stakeholders aside from few that came as free” he declared.
Musa, therefore, expressed reservation over the collection of the controversial Practitioner Operating Fee(POF) made compulsory to be paid by freight forwarders and sanctioned by the Ministry of Transportation despite several millions of annual remittances that are yet to be accounted for.
“The alleged mismanagement of public funds contributed by freight forwarders came as a result of the same Ministry of Transportation that has not accounted for the hundreds of millions in naira contributed so far aside government allocations and subvention, now demanding for revenues from every imported shipment into the country tagged Practitioner Operating Fee (POF).
“This simply means regardless of membership annual subscriptions or dues paid, aside the Customs license renewed with lots of money, aside customs duties, shipping companies charges and terminal charges, you will still have to pay something similar to customs duty to the Ministry of Transport before imported goods will be allowed to exit the ports”
The NAGAFF chieftain, while lamenting the plethora of charges imposed on freight forwarders in a stifling economy, said this has made Nigerian ports non- user friendly .
“This is the kind of policy that has made our ports not to be business-friendly and has been encouraging manufacturers to exit our country as well forcing importers to patronise the neighboring ports.
“This policy is not only strange to International best practices but also strange to any economic ideology targeted at adding any kind of values to any sector of the economy.
“We hereby implore our strategic partners to help in calling out the Honorable Minister for Transportation to come and account for what we have contributed to the pool under his supervision, how it has been utilised and as a matter of responsibility, jettison the idea of POF because it is an intellectual fraud targeted to further impoverish the innocent Nigerians” Musa further alleged,
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