ANLCA presents customs brokerage indigenisation bill to National Assembly

 The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has presented a draft bill for indigenisation of the customs brokerage in the country to the National Assembly.
National Publicity Secretary of the association, Dr Kayode Farinto disclosed this recently at a maritime roundtable organised by Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos.

He said when the bill was finally passed, it will be an offence for a foreigner to practise customs brokerage in Nigeria.

According to him, "it is not possible for a Nigerian customs broker to go to Ghana or United States of America to practise, but in Nigeria, Lebanese and other foreign nationals are seen clearing goods at our ports."

Farinto urged the National Assembly to rise up to the occasion and pass laws that would protect interest of Nigerians and provide jobs for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths.

 He said that the proposed bill would not in any way jeopardise interest of the Act establishing the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).

 Though he said the CRFFN Act needs to be reviewed as there was lacuna in the Act.

On the operational challenges facing customs brokers, Farinto said that restriction of foreign exchange affected imports as many customs brokers could not open form 'M', adding that the government recently barred importers from sourcing money from bureau de change.

Farinto said that such policies were counterproductive because "if you go to the banks to source foreign exchange you may either not be able to source or there would be a limit to the amount you can source.

Farinto said that the 1 trillion Naira target set by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col Ahmed Ali (rtd) cannot be achieved in the face of the aforementioned policies and the dwindling value of the Naira.

 He noted that the multiplicity of taxes on imports had also affected clearance of goods at the ports.

He frowned against the demurrage that customs brokers were charged on public holidays and Sundays, adding that with other charges added the customs brokers found it difficult to clear their consignments thereby leading to the accrual of demurrage over a period of time.

  The ANLCA spokesperson therefore called on government to streamline port charges and restrict terminal operators from charging demurrage on public holidays and Sundays.