Agents Have Lost Over 20b To Fake,Sub-Standard Products- Nwabunike

By Sandra Chukwunyere

Members of the Association of Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have raised alarm over lost of over N2 billion to fake and Sub-Standard products in the course of doing their business.
The clearing agents who claimed that these substandard products were not imported by them but by the importers who have made them most a times held responsible and subsequently pay the penalty.They, therefore called on  Customs brokers, freight forwarders, port operators and maritime stakeholders to shun all forms of malpractices and embrace genuine and honest declarations.
This was stated by the National President of ANLCA, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike at a one day sensitization workshop for maritime stakeholders organized by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) in Lagos on Tuesday.”Over times, the Customs Brokers have been victims of Sub-Standard importation by importers who, in some cases, failed to disclose to us the actual content or degree of compliance with extant rules like the SON Conformity Assessment Programmes (SONCAP).”
The ANLCA national president thanked the organizers of such workshop as a way of sensitizing stakeholders and the general public on the need to comply with trade rules.”I want to start by commending organizers of this meeting for putting this gathering because I believed there is no better time to discuss standards with people in the Ports than now.
“We in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) see our profession, not only as a means of livelihood, but as a way of contributing to national economic, social and total well being of consumers.”
Nwabunike noted that they have their ways doing their business at the ports. And he said: “As a result of this, we have an unsung ethic of promoting standard and best practices across various areas in the course of carrying out our cargo clearing functions at the seaport, airport and border stations.
“You will also agree with me that the influx of theses illicit products, in addition to being injurious to our national economy, also spells doom for our people. A proverb among the lgbos says “When a man throws a stone Into the market, he does not know whether it is his mother or another close relation that would be hit by the stone”.
The ANLCA president noted that in their effort to ensure compliance, the association has gone extra mile to ensure members including importers abide by rules guiding international transactions.
“In view of copious challenges faced in our line of business, we have taken it upon ourselves to educate importers on the need for their compliance to safeguard lives and avoid losses emanating from seizuresand destruction of fake and substandard goods. This task is daunting but we are not relenting because Customs brokers have suffered an estimated cumulative losses amounting to over N20b in the last ten years for undertaking to clear goods discovered to be substandard.”
Giving clearer view of what he mean, Nwabunike said: “Let me put it clearly, that upon seizure of suspected fake or substandard goods after payment of duty, it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than an importer, whose consignments were seized to pay you the balance of the agreed sum even after the broker has spent his money on the logistics.” 
While giving insight into what the losses look like both to the importers, the agents, even to the nation’s economy, Nwabunike said: “Earlier this month, SON destroyed N480m worth of substandard mobile phones, late last year, the organization also destroyed 5000 fake gas cylinders valued at N51.3m. these are just two examples of a routine activity that promotes quality in our country. 
“Destroying investment channeled wrongly towards substandard goods may look harsh, but preventing death, injuries and pains of buying poor standard imported items is a great humanitarian task. For the latter, I commend SON for saving lives.”  he added.

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