Clearing agents threaten to sue NPA over alleged imposition of CRFFN
Clearing agents under the aegis of National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), have threatened to sue the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), over alleged illegal imposition of Council of Regulation of Freight Forwarders (CRFFN) requirements as condition for the issuance of port pass.
President, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, in a letter notifying the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of the intending action, said: “The Freight Forwarders are not authorised to practice in any seaport, airport and border station as prescribed in section 30 of CRFFN Act 2007.
He claimed that the Licensed Customs Agents, are the only body authorised by Section 153-156 of CEMA (Amendment Act 61 of section 1B and 2) to enter, operate and perform their prescribed function of import, export, customs examination and the clearance of goods from the ports and border stations.
“As provided in the Port Related Offences, Amendment Act, the freight forwarders are not allowed to enter and operate in the ports and border stations, section 30 of CRFFN Act clearly defines the function as, any person or company who arranges the carriage or movement of goods as transporters of goods,” he stated.
Amiwero said the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA), has overriding authority over the NPA Act, on the control of import/export of goods and persons as prescribed in Section 113 of the NPA Act.
According to him, nothing in this Act deemed to derogate the powers conferred on any person under the customs laws as defined in the CEMA Act C 45 of 2004.
“NPA lacks the power of any control for ship, goods, loading, unloading, vehicles entering the country, persons entering and leaving the port among others, which are totally exercised by the Nigeria Customs Service, especially now that NPA is not involved in port operation but ceded their port operational functions on import and export to private terminal operators,” he said.
Amiwero emphasized that the lead agency for the control of import and export on the clearance of goods is authorised by the Nigerian Customs Service under Port Related Offences, Amendment Act 61 of 1999.
“Custom should take over the responsibility as contained in the Acts, and issue port pass and on duty cards based on the restricted area and the movement of persons as contained in the Customs and Excise Management Acts,” he stated.
All efforts to reach NPA for comments proved abortive, its spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi Goje, did not respond to The Guardian enquiries when contacted.
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