By Maritime Security News
|The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has said that Customs brokers in the country lost over N20billion in the last 10 years for undertaking to clear some imported consignments which turned out to be declared fake and substandard goods seized by Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).|
National President of the Association, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike who made this known recently at a stakeholders sensitization forum organized by Standard Organization of Nigeria noted that so many brokers are currently languishing in various detention camps and prison yards for unknowingly accepting to clear some imported goods, which turned out to be contraband, including arms and ammunitions.
Speaking at the one-day stakeholders’ sensitisation forum with the theme: “Facilitating Trade through SON’s Automated Services”, which held in Lagos, said that Customs brokerage agents and freight forwarders have had to loose huge sums of money because some persons imported substandard goods and contracted them to clear the questionable consignments.
Nwabunike noted that the importers only give the Customs brokerage agents the bill of lading, which most of the time does not reflect the exact thing in the container, adding the only time the agents gets to know what is actually in the container is when it is opened for examination, after which the agent has committed huge funds, which are never refunded if the consignment is seized.
He however disclosed that as part of efforts to mitigate such losses by members, the association has introduced a sensitisation programme where experts and university teachers are brought in to enlighten the importers on the requirements for certain categories of goods and on the need to adopt international best practice in their trade documentations.
He stated further that: over time, custom brokers have fallen prey to fraudulent importers, who bring in substandard imports and most of the time, fail to disclose to brokers the actual content or degree of compliance with extant rules such as Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programmes, (SONCAP)
“The influx of these illicit products in addition to being injurious to our national economy, also spells doom for our people,” the president declared.
“The task is daunting but we are not relenting because customs brokers have suffered an estimated cumulative losses amounting to over N200billion per annum over years for undertaking to clear goods discovered to be substandard.
This is just a mild analogy of the costly price we professionals are paying to achieve standards and build an enduring economy that will be beneficial to all”.
Earlier, Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma, who delivered a welcome address, charged importers to desist from importing substandard products capable of maiming and killing Nigerians.
Represented by the Director, Inspector and Compliance Directorate, ICD, Engr. Obiora Manafa, Aboloma insisted that the agency was not happy destroying people’s imported products because they did not comply with the required standards, adding that there was need for importers to insist on required standards before the products leave country of origin.
He argued that it is easier to prevent imported substandard products at the port than chasing after such products in markets and warehouses.
According to him, “We are tired of destroying fake and substandard goods. It costs us money; it takes our time, which could be deployed to other beneficial ventures. SON as an agency of the Federal Government is not out to punish importers, we are only interested in safeguarding lives and properties of Nigerians. Importers should also endeavour to apply for their SONCAP certificate before the arrival of their products in Nigeria”.
Aboloma also charged practitioners association including ANLCA and NAGAFF to continue to talk to their importers on the need to comply with trade rules to ensure the safety of lives and property.
Recall that the organisation has within this year alone, carried out destruction of fake and substandard products imported into the country.
In January, it destroyed fake mobile phones while substandard gas cylinders worth hundreds of millions were also destroyed in February, 2020