Freight Forwarders Defend Customs, Shippers Council Over Poor Performance Rating by PEBEC

Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria-APFFLON, has faulted a recent ranking by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), which identified the Standards Organization of Nigeria(SON), as first in the list of the top- performing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that promoted transparency and efficiency in Nigeria’s business environment for 2022.

Recall that SON was ranked No.1 on the performance table, trailed by Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Federal Competition, Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC), Nigerian Export-Import Bank(NEXIM), and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

A Breakdown of the report shows that SON recorded 78.7 percent in the compliance index followed by FCCPC with 69.1 percent, NEXIM had 64.6 percent while CAC was allotted 63.7 percent.

As it were, Nigeria Customs(NCS) and Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC) were listed among Maritime agencies that performed poorly by PEBEC.

Meanwhile, APFFLON, through its National President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, expressed dissatisfaction with the ranking questioning its integrity and Transperency.

Ogunojemite stated that APFFLON was shocked by the omission of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the ranking, and also raised eyebrows on the listing of Nigeria Customs as one of the agencies that performed poorly upon huge revenues it generated in their review, and demanded more explanation on why Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) performed poorly as well.

According to Ogunojemite, ” Honestly APFFLON was amazed at the non inclusion of the NDLEA in the ranking because for me, the Agency out- performed every other agency in 2022, what are the indices and criteria that shot SON to the first position. It is really shocking to see these agencies earning accolades and winning awards they never merited in the first place, in all fairness, the NDLEA led by Brig.Gen. Buba Marwa Rtd. dazzled every one with its outstanding performance in bursting drug cartels and recording massive seizures of unwholesome drugs, apprehending peddlers and bringing them to book. The Agency was at its best in 2022, leading operations against cartels and sniffing them out from their holes. And now you want to dismiss such outstanding performance by denying the Agency its pride of place”.

” It is true that SON is really trying in curbing the influx of substandard products into the Nigerian Market, we give it to them, but its performance can not be said to be at its best more than NAFDAC because of its inability to properly checkmate fake and substandard products into the country.

According to PEBEC Secretary, and Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, the ranking was based on 70 percent efficiency and 30 percent transparency. She highlighted existence of updated websites, interactive online service portal, detailed timelines, costs, statutory requirements and customers service contact details as part of the indices for the ranking.

Continuing, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite argued that those criteria as highlighted by PEBEC are not enough to decide which agency tops the performance table, saying that on-site performance assessment was also very important and should be given priority consideration.

Recall that the Executive Order 001(EO1) on the Promotion of Transperency and Efficiency in the Business Environment was issued by President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2017, to remove bureaucratic constraints in doing business in Nigeria and make the country a progressively easier place to start and grow a business. And the key learnings from the EO1 report analysis over the years, according to PEBEC Secretary, shows that progress was being recorded on efficiency and Transperency directives.

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