Customs Exchange Rate: ‘Our Members Are About Stoning Us now’ ANLCA President Tells Visiting CRFFN

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R-L: ANLCA National President, Emenike Nwokeoji, Acting Registrar of CRFFN, Mrs Chinyere Uromta and National Vice President of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan at the end of a strategic meeting between CRFFN and ANLCA at the ANLCA national secretariat in Lagos on Wednesday.

…Says ANLCA is Biggest under CRFFN, and Cannot be Hoodwinked

By DAPO OLAWUNI

The National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Emenike Nwokeoji on Wednesday lamented that members are facing trying times doing their business at the ports due to the recent fluctuations and increments in the customs duty exchange rate being set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

CRFFN and ANLCA top shots in a group photograph after the strategic engagement at the ANLCA National Secretariat in Lagos on Wednesday

Emenike expressed these frustrations while playing host to the Acting Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) Mrs Chinyere Uromta and her management team.

The ANLCA President revealed that the National Executive Committee (NECOM) of the association has held a meeting with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Wale Adeniyi and his management team over the exchange rate, and that all hands are currently on deck to bring succour to the practitioners.

“We were in Abuja because of this fluctuating exchange rate, importation is dropping daily, and yet the government is talking about generating revenue, let us talk about the containers coming in first, then whoever wants to collect revenue can come, but right now, an agent is an angry man.

“We went to Abuja, not on appointment, but insisted that we want to see the Comptroller General because the agents are about stoning us, when you capture a job today, in the next one hour the exchange rate is changed.

L-R: ANLCA National Tresurer, Hajia Bola Muse, National Secretary, Olumide Fakanlu, member of BOT, Sir Earnest Elochukwu, ANLCA President, Emenike Nwokeoji and Acting Registrar of CRFFN, Mrs Chinyere Uromta during the meeting on Wednesday

“In the next one week, we should have good news, the Customs themselves are not seating down, we are all putting heads together because it is a national calamity. However, we are on top of this matter and we are not just sleeping” Emenike assured.

Meanwhile, the ANLCA President cautioned that the association must not be undermined by CRFFN because it has played a great role in the formation of the freight forwarding council.

He lamented that sooner had the Council been formed, it was being hijacked by charlatans who don’t possess any licenses or business registrations to practice freight forwarding.

Speaking, he said “Our meeting here today is to re-establish and reinvigorate an existing relationship, the first council was formed by over 80percent members of ANLCA, the first and second council chairmen were from ANLCA.

“CRFFN is ANLCA making, we made inputs and hosted the Deputy speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha over this Act, I know what it took us to visit the National Assembly to defend this Act, but the moment the council came on stream, some people came in as vultures, people that never contributed a penny, they hijacked the council, they put billboards all over the ports registering members.

“Meanwhile, we took all our strength to renew our practicing licenses, after renewal, we go to register in each of the shipping companies every year, and yet, we have people claiming to be members of CRFFN, they have nobody they are accountable to, no licenses, no business registration, nothing, and yet we are being looked down on.

“We are too big to be hoodwinked.
The worst thing that can happen to an organisation is to looked down on ANLCA, it then means that you don’t want to move forward.

“It is very hard for an average agent, the agent interacts with various agencies at the port to get approvals before a single item is cleared from the port, and yet we would step out and people would look down on us?
When we see agencies that are supposed to regulate and ameliorate our pain, coming to add to the pain, we feel bad. An average agent today is boiling” he said

Speaking earlier, the Acting Registrar of CRFFN, Mrs Chinyere Uromta, appreciated the support of ANLCA to the Council in all aspects of her operations, especially in respect to membership registration and collection of Practitioners Operating fee (POF).

She described the association as a strong pillar of support to the economy of the nation in general, the Marine sector and CRFEN in particular.

Uromta acknowledged that the leadership of CRFFN has huge outstanding remittance of the POF fee which by law is supposed to be given to declarants and the associations.

She said that reasons for the delay in remittances were partly due to wrong account numbers submitted initially by the clearing agents and some other challenges beyond the Council’s immediate control.

“I would like to assure you that efforts are in place to commence payment of all outstanding and ensure, going forward, payment of this ‘gazetted’ fee, as and when due. Kindly bear with us.

“I will like to seize this opportunity to implore the leadership of ANLCA to further assist in registration of more members with the Council and further collaborate with us on POF payment as the proceed from the later will serve as a return on investment and will be well utilized for the purpose of continuous trainings for freight forwarders” She said

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