Freight forwarders seek favourable foreign trade policies
Former National Officer at Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Chidi Anthony Opara, has said the government’s foreign trade policies have driven the freight forwarding profession and their clients to the verge of becoming professionally and economically extinct.
Opara, in an open letter to freight forwarding leaders In Nigeria, said although voices have been raised in bids to remedy this situation, it has remained the same, mostly because when government policies are formulated, the reverse is always difficult to achieve.
He said the freight forwarding leaders in Nigeria should endeavor to carefully and critically study the government policy formulation process to enable them to key in and influence things at the right time and place.
“For the umpteenth time, government policies are formulated at the level of the Executive Council of the Federation, with inputs from the Ministerial cadre. Serious and focused governmental and non-governmental entities usually make inputs concerning policies that are of concern to them at the Ministerial cadre. Non-governmental entities do not necessarily have to wait until they are invited before making these inputs, in most cases in Nigeria, they are not. What they do is to monitor the utterances, etc, of very senior government officials, to know the trajectory of future government policies as it concerns them, you, the freight forwarding leaders in Nigeria should be doing this, rather you always flaunt these high-level government officials as your friends after all,” he lamented.
He noted that the recent policies of government as it concerns foreign trade have been formulated and handed down to the Nigeria Customs Service for implementation, hence the often referenced instructions from the Customs helmsman.
Opara added that while the Customs cannot refuse implementation, the leadership of freight forwarding in the country should accept the futility of blaming and ask Customs to reverse these policies and become part of its formulation.
“What is to be done regarding the referenced foreign trade policies already formulated is to muster and apply all the instruments of pressure at the disposal of the accredited and yet to be accredited freight forwarding associations, which you lead or have led,” he added.
Supporting the letter, the Deputy National President, Air Logistics, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Segun Musa, noted that government fiscal policy is often abused by the Nigeria Customs Service, which is evident in the last policy that allows pickup vans to enjoy government exemption from levy but the reverse was the case on the tariff.
He said the revelation is an eye-opener to stakeholders to know that things still happen beyond what they see when it comes to fiscal policy drafting and implementation.
“I strongly believe that there can never be an any better time than now, for all associations in the imports and export regime beyond freight forwarders to come together to save our economy and our businesses by cataloguing relevant discussions with the federal government when it comes to fiscal policy formulations to foster mutual benefit in the interest of our nation,” he added.