As part efforts to enhance compliance in the practice of air freight forwarding, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance) will commence training of clearing agents involved in cargo clearance at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.
NAHCO Aviance and Customs gave this assurance when they received the National Executives of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on a tour yesterday, led by its President, Dr. Kayode Farinto.
The Customs Area Controller of the Murtala Muhammed Area Command (MMAC Cargo), Comptroller Sambo Dangaladima revealed this while responding to the ANLCA President’s request for training.
Comptroller 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 percent, 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.
Speaking further, he said; “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”
In his remarks, the ANLCA President, Dr. Farinto observed that Customs processes have been evolving with automation since the administration of late Comptroller General Dikko Inde Abdullahi.
His words: “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.”
At NAHCO Aviance, the Group Executive Director, Business and Corporate Services, Dr. Olusola Obabori equally guaranteed requisite trainings for freight agents.
His words: “On this issue of training, it is paramount and we will commence preparations with the ANLCA MMA Cargo chapter. The same approach will also be utilized for sensitization. We will be calling on ANLCA even at the national level to explore new beginnings on innovative approaches to improve cargo handling. We are looking at enhanced service delivery via better packaging and operations and this wouldn’t be possible with the freight forwarders who are crucial players.”
“We want to run 24hours operations. What are the impediments? As we process more cargoes, there will be more revenue for government, more efficiency and improved capacity for agents.”
The ANLCA team also visited Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO), where they were received by the company’s Managing Director, Mr. Basil Agboarunmi.
At SAHCO, Agboarunmi described the ANLCA team as a family as he noted that the Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is also the Chairman of the ANLCA Board of Trustees (BOT).
On his part, the Chairman of ANLCA MMA Cargo Chapter, Prince Bamigbala Adewusi expressed delight at the ANLCA outing, describing the tour as a crucial engagement that would ensure freight agents, Customs and terminal operators are in sync to attain seamless operations in air cargo business.