Segun Oladipupo |
The National Coordinator of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance team, Alhaji Tanko Ibrahim, gave the warning while inaugurating the South East Zone of the team in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently.
Ibrahim said the compliance team frowned at members abbeting criminals at the police stations and at enforcement Units of Customs,
He stressed that the team would not be party to any Importer who violated the extant rules of clearing
NAGAFF 100% compliance team is an initiative of NAGAFF to enforce trade rules on the part of the freight forwarders in the Maritime Sector and to fight against delay in the clearance and release of cargo from the port, among others
Often, the founder of the association, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam had been stressing on the need for freight forwarders to comply strictly with the rules governing International trade by being honest in their declarations and payment of approved Customs and excise duty.
Dr. Aniebonam said it had become necessary to join efforts with the government to sanitize the industry, as well as increase revenue generation of government through Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), in addition to reducing seizures of cargos by CG Strike Forces, FOU, SON, NAFDAC.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony which attracted the presence of Heads of key Government Agencies in the Industry in Port Harcourt, the National Coordinator, NAGAFF 100 % Compliance Team, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko said the team had signed agreement with importers association not to intervene in any fraudulent matters involving importers.
His words, ”We have an understanding with the Importers Association. We have signed and agreed with each other that the Compliance Team will not intervene in matters concerning any importer who defaulted.”
He advised the newly inaugurated members to desist from involving themselves in any act that would jeopardize their business nor tarnish the image of the Compliance Team, while urging freight forwarders to always insist on importers using their names to shift their consignment in order to avert the consequences.
”I want to advise my colleagues to desist from doing the wrong things. Don’t use your name to shift or import any cargo.
“Please allow the owner to shift that container with his name. It is not going to be hard for someone to open FORM ‘M’ with his name. But he is doing that because he is running away from the responsibility of that cargo; He is now pushing you to go ahead and use your name to shift container and many of them are in prison now just because of this nonsense
”We are in agreement with the Importers and Shippers Association that we are not going to be party to it if they are caught. In fact, we are the ones that will fish you out.
“The CG of Customs is happy with what the Compliance Team is doing. We are not working alone. We are not the agitators of this compliance. We don’t have power of arrest, but we have power to speak. When we see, we say something. If you make a false declaration, we will not intervene.
Speaking, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Port Harcourt command, Garuba Y.M described NAGAFF as partner in progress with Customs, a major stakeholder and a Key player in ports administration saying, the association’s role in Customs revenue generation cannot be over-emphasised.
Garuba who was represented by DC Nwobi Albert pointed out that Customs revenue generation is based on declaration, stressing the need for honest declaration to avoid loss of revenue and seizures, while commending NAGAFF on the initiation.
Alhaji Tanko expressed satisfaction with the large turn out of people at the inauguration ceremony including government agencies at the Ports, remarking that it is a sign of acceptance by government, saying that the issue of compliance started with government agencies.
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