By DAPO OLAWUNI
The National Secretary of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila has said that the general architecture of Nigerian ports gives room for smuggling of Tramadol drugs, as well as under-declaration of cargoes, adding that without scanners installed at the ports, the trend would continue.
Mukaila in an exclusive chat with DAILY TREND NEWS on Tuesday at the ANLCA National Secretariat was reacting to the latest seizures of Tramadol at the port.
He added that the Nigeria Customs Service would realise more revenue than what it is currently generating if there are scanners installed at the ports.
He however observed that the general compliance level of the Nigerian freight forwarders have increased tremendously and that this was why customs is surpassing its yearly revenue target.
While fielding questions from our correspondent, he said “Year-in, year-out, you see customs setting a target and they are surpassing it, what does that tell you about compliance? It means the compliance level is going high”
“But of course, in every twelve, there must be a Judas, the port structure and architecture permits someone to smuggle in tramadol because there is no scanner, it is through intelligence gathering that customs are using to detect the Tramadol and I must commend them, customs have upped their game about intelligence gathering”
“So, on the issue of compliance, it has been soaring, and I believe that with the introduction of the scanner, customs can make double of their revenue.
The customs are trying, but the architecture of the port gives room for anybody to try their luck”
Speaking on the challenges confronting freight forwarding practice in Nigeria, Mukaila lamented that there are some unscrupulous, and unlicensed practisioners still milling around the port, duping unsuspecting importers, and giving the legitimate licensed agents a bad image.
He blamed the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) for lacking behind in its responsibility of regulation.
He vowed that his association, ANLCA, would not rest on its oars untill the wheats are sorted from the shafts.
Mukaila said his office receives myriads of complaints from importers on daily basis, most times, calls from abroad, about freight forwarders duping them of their investments.
“If the CRFFN is alive to their responsibility, there would not be all these complaints, we receive complaints everyday of freight forwarders duping importers”
“Individual freight forwarders cannot perpetrate these acts without a platform, dont forget that association is by choice, we still have some corporate licenses that are seating on the fence, when you go to the port, you would se them at the back of their cars stamping documents for N1,000”
“Until we get to that level where customs do their job properly at the point of license renewal every year, they should ensure that agents have functioning offices, evidences of documents handled in the previous year before renewing their licenses ”
“There are still a sizable number of practicing freight forwarders that doesn’t know the protocol of how to seek redress, they sleep on their right all the time, business is by choice, if you decide to handle a transaction that you are not part of the processes of documentation, and you jump at it, there are protocols to follow in exinerating yourself from what you know nothing about.
I want to say we still have a lot to learn” he said