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Clearing Agents Frown Customs Gang Up Fueling Demurrage

The 100% Compliance Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has kicked against the Nigeria Customs Service and its informants, saying that importers lose a lot of money to demurrage through the activities of the latter.
Addressing the press in Lagos weekend, the National Coordinator of the Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko, frowned at the activities of the informants and other operational hiccups.
Tanko who indicated this also highlighted that the leader of the informants had been identified and the association had declared war on them.
However, he said that freight forwarders and Customs agents were not against Nigeria Customs engaging informants but that the cumbersome process involved in the release of seized containers calls for concern.
Tanko advised that the controller of the command where the seized cargo was released initially should be allowed to exercise power on the final release, not the Abuja authority who might not respond on time while importers are incurring demurrage.
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“Informants have taken over our job. They pick container numbers either from shipping companies or terminals and send them to the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone A which the FOU officers and men on the highways use to arrest our containers. We are not against informants supplying information to Customs, our complaint is about the cumbersome process which the containers are subjected to before final release” Tanko cried out, maintaining that their principals were losing lots of money.
“We want the controller of the port where the cargo was released initially to give the final decision on the release, not the Abuja authority. We have lost a lot of money to demurrage while waiting for the Abuja verdict, which often takes a lot of time to arrive.
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“We have identified the leader of the informants. We have reached out to him and told him that we had concrete evidence against him. He denied any involvement in such act. This guy and his cohorts have caused many of our members to lose a lot of revenue to demurrage. I am a victim. The time is now to declare war on the activities of informants. And we have now declared the war”, he stated further.
He likened the informants to kidnappers and added that the standard of the scanners in the ports fall short of the expectations of the port users especially importers, freight forwarders and Customs agents because the scanners could not identify drugs, arms and ammunition and other security-threat items.
The leader of the Compliance Team advised the federal government to replace the scanners with the ones that can scan and identify hard drugs and weapons.
“We must have scanners that can detect any incriminating objects. It is not about revenue issue; we should talk more about security,” he also stressed.

MF

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