Apapa Customs Pledges Enhanced Synergy with APFFLON, As Compt Jaiyeoba Preaches Cargo Integrity

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…Says Protracted Server Failure has been Rectified

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) and the Apapa Command of the Nigeria Customs Service has entered a pact to ensure trade facilitation and boost revenue into the coffers of the Federal Government.

President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite led other members of the association on a courtesy visit to the Apapa Customs Controller, Compt Babajide Jaiyeoba on Wednesday.

Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba (right) in a handshake with the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite during a courtesy visit by APFFLON to the Apapa Customs Command on Wednesday

While speaking during the meeting, Ogunojemite lamented the frequent customs server failures which according to him has led to freight forwarders incuring unnecessary demurrages on their cargo.

Speaking, he said “In most cases, we cannot capture our jobs and we end up paying demurrages, we have realized that the problem does not come from Customs, on this matter, we have brought the House of Representatives and the Senate together.

“I have been privileged to represent freight forwarders at the House of Representatives and the Senate on industry issues, specifically on activities of WebFontaine (Customs Service providers)

“For instance, since last week, we have been having challenges in capturing our jobs and we are talking about Foreign Direct Investments, we are talking of reforming the economy entirely, how do we come about this if we don’t have the synergy with Customs.

“We equally have working relationship with other government agencies including SON, NAFDAC, among others, but Customs is the main agency that makes things work at the port.

“So, our visit today is to improve upon our relationship, you have been a very good father to us, and the issues we discussed with you have been attended to.

“This is my first time of visiting the Apapa command, I have always restricted my visits to the ACG and I rely on the reports that comes from my Chapter executives.

“I found it important to visit you today because of the credible records you have made at the command so far” Ogunojemite stated

APFFLON delegation in a group photograph with Apapa Customs boss

Ogunojemite also used the opportunity to introduce the Apapa chapter chairman of APFFLON and other executives to the Customs Comptroller, even as he urged the customs boss to extend his open door policy to them.

Responding, Comptroller Jaiyeoba urged the APFFLON and other port stakeholders to have confidence in the customs service, even as he urged them to always make honest declarations in order to avoid cargo delay.

He also informed the APFFLON delegation that the protracted server failure which had lasted since last week Thursday has been resolved.

Compt Jaiyeoba commended APFFLON members in Apapa chapter, describing them as some of the most compliant stakeholders at the command, while he assuring that he would always maintain an open door policy with the association.

Speaking, the Apapa Customs boss said “We feel highly honored that you are visiting us today because you are an essential commodity. I want to thank you for your interest and commitment to the service and in particular, Apapa Port.

“One thing I do anywhere i work is to maintain an open door policy to our stakeholders and chat a way forward together. I have met with your Apapa chapter members and they have been quite helpful.

“I want to reassure that we in Apapa command are here to facilitate legitimate trade, that is what we know we can do to achieve the target. Revenue is involved, but the stakeholders, the importers and agents should have confidence in us in order to bring in their cargo.

“How can they have confidence in us? It is when we attend to their cargoes timely. I also want to use this opportunity to preach to us that cargo integrity is critical to timely clearance of cargo, once there is any infraction, time would be lost.

“I am one of those who believe that when you talk of trade, you are talking of money being tied down somewhere, the target of any trader is to turn around his investments, get profits and use it for other things.

“We are not the type that want to unnecessarily cause delays, but when there is infractions, there is nothing we can do, so you have to ensure that the right thing is done.

“That is why I keep preaching to all the critical Stakeholders that they should learn to do honest declaration, by the time you do that, you are already helping us serve you better. Let us continue to talk to our members that compliance is critical, once you do that, you can be assured that we would serve you better.

“So, we need the cooperation of everybody because we want to serve you better, please help us tell all your members. I made bold to say that your members at Apapa Port do not have any issues with us, this is because they are compliant. However, in every family, there would be a Judas, let us send information to them all.

“On the issue of server failure, I can tell you boldly that it has been resolved, because anytime there is server failure, we are also not comfortable because it makes us look inefficient.

“People may not know why cargo is delayed, it is not from us but the service provider, and the new management of the Customs under the leadership of Comptroller General Bashir Adewale Adeniyi is trying to ensure that 48hours delivery of cargoes is achieved and that is why all of us are working towards that” he concluded

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