AVIMAR Summit: APFFLON lauds FG on free trade agreement
.Customs Controller calls for full compliance with fiscal policies
By Silas Onuoha
The National President, Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Mr Frank Ogunojemite has commended the Federal Government on the initiative to sign into African Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
He gave this commendation in his welcome address, at AVIMAR Summit 2019, organised APFFLON, in Lagos, yesterday.
Speaking further at the summit with the theme, ‘The Relevance of government agencies in Aviation/Maritime industry on ease of doing business in Nigeria’, Ogunojemite explained that the Free Trade Agreement will pave the way for freight forwarders in Nigeria to explore the market within West African sub-region.
He called on government agencies saddled with the responsibility of implementing ease of doing business policy, to ensure effective implementation, in order to achieve the intended purpose.
His assertions, “It is not mere coincidence that this summit is coming at a time when Nigeria just signed into African Continental Free Trade Agreement, ACFTA.
“So, I wish to say with boldness that we at APFFLON see the new agreement as providing the needed platform for freight forwarders and indeed the stakeholders to play in this continental arena.
“Therefore, we are ready to take full advantage of the African Market as our operational zone. This can be deduced from the name of our association (Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria).
In her speech, the Customs Area Controller (CAC), Nahco Command of Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Jayne Shoboiki stressed, “Customs is empowered by law to collect duties and taxes according to description or classification of every shipment, and to confiscate prohibited items, as well as smuggled goods.
“The measures put in place by Customs include coordinated border management. The Service was able to synergise with other government agencies, in order to ease the bottlenecks experienced during clearance of goods, by ensuring that joint examination of cargo is often carried out. This becomes important to speed up clearance processes.
“Customs also ensures simplification of processes through ICT based hub where all relevant government agencies are hinged to either access information or attach documentary requirements. That way, Customs immediately sees such permits or clearance documents and quickly release same without further referrals.
“Customs has realised that it cannot perform its statutory functions effectively without the cooperation of not only relevant government agencies but also other stakeholders, as well as Captains of industries. These include importers, exporters, transporters and manufacturers alike.
“Therefore, it is imperative that the business man complies with the laws by declaring the content and value of his shipments appropriately. As a compliant trader whose business is to import or export, it is required that he follows due process and procedures as provided by government.
“This is very important because wrong declaration and concealment detected either by means of document or physical examination will hinder the clearing process and cause delay or even confiscation of goods. I believe no trader wants to lose his good or money. Therefore, my advice is that we stay away from playing smart in this era of digital clearance and intelligence gathering.”
“I am appealing to freight forwarders to always give professional advice and accurate information about the current situation at every point in the trade chain. The importer or business man will always come and go, but your licenses are on Customs server. Wrong declaration , short-payment, theft or smuggling may land you in trouble, or get your licenses blacklisted. I am convinced that none of you will like such to happen.”
The climax of the summit was award honour given to Mr Frank Ogunojemite by Prestige Magazine for his outstanding leadership quality in moving APFFLON forward.