Customs agents kick against regulation by freight forwarders

David Adekunle, Lagos.

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that its members should not be regulated by the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Act 16 of 2007.

The National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Kayode Farinto, said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, south west Nigeria.

Voice of Nigeria (VON) reports that the CRFFN Act No.16 of 2007 was enacted into law on April 30, 2007.

The Council is charged, among other responsibilities, with regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding in Nigeria and promoting the highest standards of competence, practice and conduct among members of the profession.

It was also gathered that the CRFFN was  dedicated to achieving sustainable economic development in Nigeria through responsible transport initiatives in freight forwarding development and management.

“Nigerian licensed customs agents are presently having double jeopardy.Having been licensed by virtue of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) and coerced by the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria Act 16 of 2007.

One will expect only transporters, freight forwarders, warehouse owners and shipping agents to be regulated by the CRFFN Act and not licensed customs agents as erroneously done now.Every licensed customs agent prefers to be regulated under CEMA but registered with the CRFFN,’’ he said.

He explained that customs formalities, documentation, interpretation and classification must continue to be protected and regulated by CEMA with absolute restriction.

The customs agent said that CRFFN could not continue to claim that it had the sole power to determine the standards of skills and knowledge to be attained to be a customs agent.

“Nigeria Customs in collaboration with ANLCA have continued to train licensed customs agents,’’ he said.

Farinto said that ANLCA “is in court to interprete the CRFFN Act. CEMA is empowered to regulate and license customs agents.’’

Farinto, however, lauded the decision by the NCS to close Direct Traders’ Input (DTI) cafes and alleged that many illegalities were being perpetrated.

According to him, we have been making efforts to ensure that our licences are protected by the customs service.

Farinto said that closure of the cafes would go a long way in sanitizing the maritime industry.

He, however, suggested that giving licensed customs agents password to DTIs would stop the illegalities perpetrated by people hiding under the guise of being freight forwarders.