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Tin-Can Customs Boss Identify 3 Categories of Clearing Agents

Says Non-Compliant Agents Most Strident Attackers of Policy And Processes

…Warns Against Unintended Rise In Cargo Freight And Insurance


Area Controller, Tin Can Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, has cautioned players in the freight forwarding community against making unguarded and misleading public statements that poses unnecessary challenges to the growth of international trade and the future of the ports economy; warning that such negative statements have ways of adversely impacting on the national economy.

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L-R Compt. Nnadi, Chief Okorocha, President LOME and Mrs. Remi Itie, member, during the courtesy visit

This is even as he argued that freight forwarders and clearing agents who are more strident when it comes to loud noise making using the media as platform of protestation are the non compliant individuals; noting that they are the most vociferous, destructive and attackers of government policies and customs trade operational processes; as well as the most recalcitrant when it comes to doing the things.

Nnadi who made above disclosure during a chat with members of the League of Maritime Editors (LOME) who paid him a courtesy visit yesterday, explained that whereas there are three category of freight forwarders as far as the rules of customs trade engagement is concerned, the category of conscious violators are the greatest noise makers and attackers of the system.

Nnadi speaking during the meeting

According to the NCS poster boy, while some freight forwarders and their principals, the importers stick with the rules, there are some who make honest mistakes and quite willing to accept and remedy such mistakes; others he described as the recalcitrant players continually seek to subvert the system through misleading media statements and blackmail.

He said, “There are three categories of stakeholders within the freight forwarders and importers. You have the very compliant ones who would want to do everything possible to do it right. We have those who are not compliant out of ignorance and mistakes…those ones, whenever we call for meetings, whenever we educate them, they’re very willing to change and do the right thing. We have received the cooperation of the firs and the second.

“The firs are enjoying fast track, the CG (Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR) just launched Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) policy for them, we have quite a number of them.  We also have those who are willing to do it right out of ignorance or lack of opportunity they didn’t do it, we have also been encouraging them, they are also doing it.

“But we have very few who are recalcitrant, who will never, no matter what you do, change. These are the most vocal ones, unfortunately. For every policy you want to introduce, they are the ones that will say anything, mislead the press just to create confusion.”

The Tin Can Island Customs boss expressed dismay however that these negative reports fueled by inaccurate and misleading utterances ultimately act negatively against the interest of the country in the international arena, and has tendencies to also expose Nigeria to undue and adverse investment considerations.

“There is something I told those l held meeting with yesterday, l said for every negative opinion you express about this our industry and get the media to write, you de-market this industry.  So when we say do it right and you run to the media and say all manners of things, the ports are not working, customs is killing us, tariffs are so high, they are killing business, the media must write, it is their duty to write.

“But then the international community will pick it up, investors will pick it up, and say oh, Nigerian ports are not friendly….customs is killing business, so what do you gain? They increase their freights, they increase their insurance, the only thing that will remain constant is the FOB. The man selling over there is not interested where you are taking your goods to, but the man who will ferry the goods to Nigeria, the man who will insure the vessel, the man who will insure the goods, the man who will insure the empty containers…will be worried that ‘oh, they said nothing is working in Nigeria’, therefore, he decides to raise his cost…so you can imagine the multiplier effects of this attitude.”

Nnadi who also appealed to the freight forwarders and clearing agents to prevail on their principals to engage in honest declaration of imports to make the clearance system seamless; blaming them for the regime of multiple interventions and alerts.

“And that is why l always appeal rather than throwing blames here and there, can we talk in-house to address some of these challenges? Because in the meeting we held yesterday, with stakeholders and other government agencies on the challenges of multiple interventions in cargo clearing process, l told them it is an embarrassment that close to 20 years we are still discussing the same issue. I cited an example for them, l said if the customs risk management our CRS throws up red on PAAR about a particular container, then there is reasonable ground for suspicion that the right thing has not been done. And a customs officer examines that container and says everything is right,  l expect that the next CRF is green.

“If you bring 100 containers and examine them, and then l return verdict that you complied, duty was paid correctly, items imported are correct, l expect the next batch of PAAR that will come to be green. So l asked them yesterday, how come every PAAR  issued, over 70percewnt or more still turns out to be red over the years and yet you complain that there are interventions in the system. Ants will only go to where there is sugar.

“So I talked to them yesterday, I said please can we talk to our importers to do the right so we can change this narrative? Let our risk levels tend towards green, even for the few that we said okay, there are some reasonable grounds not to be suspected go to the orange, yellow for scanning.  All of you were here when l was in NIPPS , almost every newspaper report was ‘give us scanners, give us scanners’, now the scanners have been brought, people are saying the scanners are delaying, we don’t want to go to scanners…so  l asked them, what do you people really want?

“I am very passionate about this industry and we need to interrogate issues, l am making this appeal because l know you are elders in maritime reporting, let us face reality, let us say the truth, forget about personal considerations and think about the industry; we shouldn’t eat our children’s future today.”

On the lighter note, it was revealed during the chat under Nnadi’s watch, the command overshoot its daily revenue which once quadrupled from N3.3billion to N9.2billion. Nnadi assured that the remaining 32percent of the command’s N801biillion for the year will be met.

Earlier, LOME President, Chief Timothy Okorocha congratulated the “effant terrible” of the customs redployment to the Tin Can Command, noting that his posting was very deserving in lieu of his hard work. Okorocha also briefed the area controller of the League

s forth coming 25th Anniversay Retreat/Celebration billed for December 7 & 8, 2023, and extended the League’s invitation for him to grace the occasion.

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