By Steve Agbota
As part efforts to enhance compliance in the practice of air freight forwarding, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on
the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance) to organise training for freight agents involved in cargo clearance at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.
ANLCA President, Dr. Kayode Farinto who made the request when he led the association’s National Executives on a tour to the Airport, said that Customs processes have been evolving with automation since the administration of late Comptroller General Dikko Inde Abdullahi.
“For us to be seen as professionals, we must increase our level of compliance. We shouldn’t have a system that would require external auditors from the headquarters to inspect the activities at the chapters or Commands when we could opt to be compliant.
“We have the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) concerned about training freight forwarders, but the management of Customs should also be interested in training freight agents because in the logistics management chain Customs brokerage plays a crucial role. So, there is a need for training by Customs at the airport in conjunction with the ANLCA Airport Chapter executives. You could assign some Assistant Controllers or Deputy Controllers to arrange for these trainings in line with the modern cargo handling system,” he stated.
Upon the President request, NAHCO Aviance and Customs accepted gave assurance to commence training of freight agents at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.
The Customs Area Controller of the Murtala Muhammed Area Command (MMAC Cargo), Comptroller Sambo Dangaladima lamented that the traces of unprofessionalism and sharp practices perpetuated in the cargo handling system are attributable to lack of training for agents on modern best practices. Although he posited that the Command has witnessed an appreciable level of compliance from freight agents which he rated 70 per cent, he expressed optimism that with vital trainings and more engagements the compliance level will be better.
He, however, admonished aggrieved agents to come forward with their complaints on Customs processes as his administration has an open door policy, even as he stressed that the Command exists to serve the interest of freight agents who assist the government in generating revenue.
“I want us to keep working as a family and team members, so I’m appealing to you to reduce communication to our bosses in Abuja on issues which you can’t defend. You shouldn’t escalate a matter to the Customs headquarters when you haven’t made efforts to discuss with us at the Command. In most cases, we have to detain the containers immediately and still end up with the same decision we reached before the reports to the Customs headquarters.
“If you have problems call on the Controller’s office and let’s operate like brothers and sisters to achieve a better work environment. I want to thank the ANLCA President, Dr. Farinto who has been a brother and a friend for over two decades. ANLCA is the leading freight forwarding association and it is your mandate to ensure compliance and training of your members and by extension other practitioners in the business,” he added.