‘Why abuse of cargo clearance regulation is increasing’
More light has been thrown on why many freight forwarders in the country abuse the implementation of SONCAP in line with the Federal Government standards.
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), in a letter to the Director General, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), said inherent abuse of the regulations is caused by the high default charges.
The letter signed by the Founder of NAGAFF, Boniface Aniebonam, therefore urged the agency to review the charges downward from N500, 000 to N100, 000.
He said: “The inherent abuse of due process and disrespect to SONCAP implementation by the stakeholders at the entry points is most disturbing for the fact that business men and women are daring. In the light of the above, it is the advice of NAGAFF that a reduction in default charges should be encouraged on non-threatening products with a view to enhancing compliant.
“We observed that the high defaulting charges are making importers to become more daring to be in business. It is most unfortunate that SON officials are deployed to the ports, which have made it very difficult to ensure compliance to regulations. We therefore appeal and advice that a concessionary charge be granted to defaulters with an intent to stop them from being over daring, “it stated.
The group however, noted that goods of dangerous and life threatening may not enjoy such benefits because of its nature.
It also advised that SON should strengthen its enforcement unit to be more professional in its approach.
It stated: “For the avoidance of doubt it is on record and in fact that reference numbers of provisional releases issued by SON in the past are being recycled to effect releases of imports at the ports. It therefore, means that the effort of SON to track goods in the port through the NICIS of the Customs may not be effective enough.
“A forensic audit of goods on hold at the ports by SON shall indicate that old reference numbers may have been used to effect most of their releases. It is an act of the syndicates within the operating system of the port which shall include a collaboration with some of the agents of government. This is to show the extent SON efforts to suppress importation of substandard goods, fake and adulterated goods can be endangered.
“The remote cause of this inherent abuse is predicated on high defaulting charges and corruption in general. Aside from the porous border of Nigeria, sabotage and unpatriotic acts, the management of SON should work hard with the stakeholders to evolve self cleansing. The relevance of NAFDAC is equally passing through this level of abuses.