The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called for the return of all relevant regulatory agencies to the ports to save lives and the nation’s economy from imported fake and adulterated drugs and products.
The agencies include the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), among others.
Making the call in Lagos, Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, argued that their return would also aid trade facilitation and save stakeholders the trauma of tracking those agencies during cargo clearance.
He also was piqued that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has continued to intercept cleared cargoes on the highways, while clearing agents are being extorted by the police. Also, these agencies stop goods on transit even a few meters from the gates of the ports where they were cleared, which negatively impacts trade facilitation
Describing this as cog in the wheel of progress, Aniebonam noted that trade facilitation would be effective if the relevant federal agencies do joint examination at the port. He stressed that the agencies already maintain an unofficial presence at the port.
However, this trend could be reversed when all the agencies are allowed back to the ports, he said, noting that freight forwarders bear the burden of the attendant delay on the road, mindful that their job is only completed when the cargo is delivered.
According to him, “most of their investments go down the drain with this ugly situation and this is why many, as young as 25 years old, are hypertensive.
“We are tired that after clearing our goods, they are either intercepted by FOU or SON. We cannot continue to lose our investments. When customs examines and finds anything that pertains to an agency, that agency can follow the container to the warehouse, and it gives them an opportunity to know the importer.”
He explained that ease of doing business is not about unauthorised legislation but simplification of processes and procedures in business transaction, adding that ease of doing business seeks to remove all human barriers arising from or leading to corrupt acts and practices that breach rules, regulations and the law.
Similarly, he insisted that ease of doing business also implies provision of physical infrastructures and enabling tools of trade facilitation, as well as government’s strong will to enforce regulations.
Nevertheless, he advised importers to always comply with trade regulations since the customs’ enabling act allows interception and search of any good anywhere.