Association tasks freight forwarders on honest declaration

Dr Frank Ukor
Dr Frank Ukor, President, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, Nigeria (ARFFN), has charged freight forwarders to be honest with their declaration for cargo clearance.

Ukor said in an interview in Lagos that honest declaration was a sure way to curb corruption in the cargo clearance procedure.
He said experience had proven that goods could be cleared within 48 hours if people decided not to cut corners, but did what was required of them.
Ukor spoke against the backdrop of complaints by some importers that cargo clearance was being unnecessarily delayed by customs officers.
He, however, disagreed with the complaints, saying experiences had shown that declarations which did not have queries did not suffer delays at the ports.
He said: ``The best thing is that you declare your goods correctly; come in and pay the right duty you are supposed to pay and take your goods.
``If this is done, then, you will see that you will spend less money and less time in clearing goods from the port.
``So, sometimes, I don’t even blame the customs because if the importer decides from the onset not to be compliant, not to declare appropriately, then he will be ready to spend the money.
``So, the real culprits are the importers and some agents who want to be smart and the customs will close their eyes and allow you to go but definitely you have to pay’’.
Ukor said that a dedicated survey on the issue revealed that import documents passed through about 15 desks of the customs for clearance to be completed.
He said that each of the desks did its required checks and passed on the documents when there were no queries.
``If a consignment is fully compliant, no query whatsoever, it will take about 15 desks of the customs to go through before it comes out within two days.
``And in this case, they will not require you to pay N1,000 for registration. But if otherwise, they will require you to pay N1,000 to register before moving it to another seat.

``That is why you see goods stay for many days before they move, causing delay and in turn, more money being spent,’’ Ukor said.