Agencies, Operators Afraid of Our Compliance Team, Says NAGAFF

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Eromosele Abiodun

The Head of compliance team of the National Association of Government Approval Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Ibrahim Tanko has accused some corrupt officials among the government agencies and service providers of waging a campaign of calumny against the team.

NAGAFF recently inaugurated the team to monitor the compliance level of service providers to government’s Ease of Doing Business at the Port.
But the team, which has visited some service operators to enforce compliance, has come under attacks by some stakeholders who regarded its operations as illegal and a mere posturing.

Tanko, while reacting to the attacks on the team, accused some elements in NAFDAC, SON, terminal operators and bonded terminal operators whom he alleged are corrupt and averse to complying with the rules of engagement, as those behind these attacks.
He also accused some elements in the freight forwarding industry, whom he described as irredeemably corrupt and thrive on circumventing the rules, as collaborating to frustrate the efforts of the team.

Tanko, vowed that no amount of intimidation and blackmail could deter them, saying his team remained focused in ensuring that all stakeholders play by the rules.
He disclosed that it was the repeated complaints and accusations by government agencies and terminal operators that freight forwarders are not compliant that made NAGAFF set up the team to self-audit themselves and whip erring members into line.

“The government agencies have asked us to be compliant and play by the rules. That is what we are trying to achieve among our members. We have about 40 percent compliance level among our members and hope to get about 50 to 60 per cent by the end of the year. We are even organising a three-day seminar for members where we intend to further preach the gospel of compliance to them. After that, we shall focus on government agencies with whom we hope to interract on the issue of compliance for mutual understanding and cooperation.

“We have already written to the relevant ones to this effect. We have even engaged our principals who are the importers to made correct declarations. So if we decided to be compliant, the service providers should also be compliant by having the necessary capacity to do the job, by not overcharging us and by getting the necessary equipment. The officials of regulatory agencies like Customs, NAFDAC, SON and even Police should all play the game by its rules and stop their extortions, “Tanko declared.

He took a swipe at Denca bonded terminal, which he alleged has the worse services in the industry but whose charges are the highest.

“They don’t have equipment. They rent ordinary forklift and the floor of the terminal is always flooded during the rainy season. You can’t position your containers during the rainy season. This is what we protested against at their terminal before they begged us to give them some times to made amends.

“I am now surprised when I heard them calling members of my team touts who have come to extort their customers. This claim is not only false but unsubstantiated. How can you call licensed Customs agents touts, “he further alleged.

He, however, said they have given Denca till the end of this month to upgrade their services or “they should be ready to kill all of us when we go back to enforce their compliance level with standard practice procedures.”