Freight forwarders accuse NAFDAC of complicating cargo clearance process  at ports

Abiola Seun

Clearing Agents under the aegis of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) have vehemently criticized the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for making cargo clearance process cumbersome at the park.

The President of the Association, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, claimed that the agency had made cargo clearance more tasking, as importers are now subjected to huge fiscal burden for avoidable delays.

Ogunojemite also decried the agency’s shoddy mode of operations, saying the new electronic platform provided by NAFDAC that was expected to ease clearance of cargoes at the ports is now a curse to freight agents and their importers.

The system, APFFLON boss declared, was creating a serious bottleneck as accessing the platform has become a huge task on its own, blaming the agency for lack of prompt and thorough sensitization of Freight Agents on the new process before the introduction of the portal.

The APFFLON President said, “for all consignment that require NAFDAC authorization before clearance at the ports, it is now online. Besides, it is posing a great deal of problems to access the website let alone process the platform for the first and second stamping, of which, if not completed, the person won’t be able to pay customs duty. This means that freight forwarders would have to keep paying rent to terminal operators until the issue is resolved”.

Ogunojemite however exonerated the Director-General of the agency, Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, saying she was doing her best but some unscrupulous elements are seriously sabotaging her efforts.

He said “we are not against online, but the way they are handling the issue is disheartening, those working under the DG are the ones rubbishing her efforts; these people keep extorting everyone through their camp boys touting around the agency’s office complex.

“The sad thing is that these touts prove to be so powerful that one has no option than to submit in order to achieve his or her goal since every staffer has a camp boy doing his or her biddings within the office complex. This has in no doubt made nonsense of the entire process”.

Ogunojemite further expressed disappointment on the total failure of the agency’s automation server, saying people are being forced to go to NAFDAC office to carry out the process leading to mindless extortion, bribery and other shenanigans that the online platform set out to forestall”.

The Association therefore charged NAFDAC DG to always engage stakeholders and as well sanitize the system by getting rid of touts that resume at the agency’s office complex on daily basis before the agency becomes a haven for criminals.

The association also urged the agency to always embark on thorough sensitization of the general public each time a new development is envisaged.

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