Editorial Team

Emmanuel Udom-Managing Editor, Stephen Dijo Philemon-Deputy Editor, Janet Udom-Senior Correspondent, Precious Udom-Senior Correspondent, Williams Ita-Bureau Chief(Akwa Ibom/Cross River), Fabian Idoko-Senior Correspondent

    Manufacturer's Representative Import Export General Merchandise Contract Adress: Araromi Quarters, Owode Area, Ifo, Ogun state, Nigeria P.O.Box 2632, Oshiodi, Lagos Telephone: 2348166719412

    Thursday, 26 September 2013

    Exercise discretion in ports operation and cargo clearance-Govt agencies urged

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    Dr Boniface Aniagunam
    Dr Boniface Aniagunam
    Freight forwarder - Wiki Article

    National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has joined the plethora of voices that have complained that discretion is the better part of valour in our ports operation

    In a statement released from the corporate office of the organization and made available to the Press, it maintained that it is a fact that one of the major problems in our port operations is the non-compliant attitude of the port users stressing that the Nigerian Shippers and freight forwarders may be continuously in default of import regulations of Nigeria.

    In the same vein, the statement said Government Agencies may appear not to have developed the professional and political will to enforce government regulations with regard to import guideline and regulations noting that in all these anomalies and added to the fact that our ports may not have been regulated as such, it is a case of “winner takes all”.

    Expatiating further, it stated that at the moment, there are clear signs of human element problems in our port system which have in most cases resulted in port congestion. The
    hydra-headed corruption effect is equally biting so much that it appears that every function is being derailed noting that in an effort to advance the
    course of discretionary powers in carrying out duties, it is our view that the following Organizations of the Government and Private Sector groups
    should exercise due discretion in the discharge of their duties in the National interest.

    At the moment the statement added, the ports are witnessing artificial congestion because we could not apply due discretion in our respective functions and so urge the Nigeria Customs Service, to continue to exercise and apply discretionary powers in risk management technique with regard to inadequate capacity of our hydro-scanners cautioning that it is obvious that cargo throughput is more than what the scanners could handle and as such it shall be a good initiative to re-route cargo to physical examination in other to facilitate trade further.

    This measure it emphasize will reduce the artificial congestion at Ports in Apapa and Tincan advising that the various Regulatory
    Agencies of the Government should imbibe the concept of corrective measures rather than out- right seizure of imports on matters of
    standardization and quality control.

    "Imports into Nigeria without proper labeling should be made to be labeled so that the public will not be
    deceived, etc. We encourage SON and NAFDAC to continue and expand this process in the interest of trade and humanity." it stated

    On the part of terminal operators whose capacity cannot take all the inflow of cargoes, the body advise that these terminals should be able to enter into trade
    agreement with outer terminal operators to decongest the port. It noted that from inception Web Fontane has been a major problem in our port
    operations because of constant system failure wondering why the Finance Ministry has kept quiet over this period instead of addressing this
    problem. After all, it is said “a stitch in time saves nine”. "Web Fontane should have a backup system to avoid undue delay of cargo
    clearance"it maintained

    Taking a swipe at the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) it said that, it is most unfortunate that the relevance of Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria is in doubt as the body is known for dragging its feet on sensitive issues that concern the activities at the ports stressing that a properly constituted Board of CRFFN will create a good platform for all the critical stakeholders to meet regularly with a view to addressing all these human element and logistics problems in our port function. It opined that the Federal Government through the office of the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy is in a better position to give a clear direction in our trade policies based on sound recommendations.

    "The use of discretionary powers is a major tool in resolving most human element problems arising from non-compliant attitude of the stakeholders
    in our port function as it is a known fact that 95% of imports and exports in Nigeria are non compliant with regulation whereas this situation is
    regrettable but then it is about trade related defaults which is rectifiable through imposed penalty and or sanctions that are effectively
    enforced" it stated.

    The body noted that the problems presently being encountered at the portsare avoidable because the over-sight function of the Nigerian Ports Authorityand the supposed advisory role of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council should be able to take appropriate measures to resolve these human element problems with the delegated powers of Mr. President and or the Honourable Minister of Transport.

    In their conclusion, the body maintained that as a professional body of freight forwarders, it is its opinion that the solution to the various problems in our ports
    is in people being made to obey and respect our import/export guidelines and regulations emphasizing that Government should be willing to enforce regulations and
    make the service providers and terminal operators to observe their terms of contract because as it were there is no doubt that there are veritable signs of system
    failure in our port functions as the effect of corruption is really setting the entire system backward giving the wrong impression that the transformation programme of the current administration is a child’s play or a fluke.
    eeudomyahoocom is based in Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.

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