The founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwards (NAGAFF) , Dr Boniface Aniebonam yesterday defended the NAGAFF 100% Compliance team, who are storming Bonded Terminals in Lagos in the guise of checking infractions. Though some of the terminals are putting up stiff resistance, due to lack of statutory powers by the team, Dr Boniface Aniebonam , founder and initiator of the NAGAFF 100% compliance team says they are only to add value. Since the composition and launch of the team two months ago, alleged corruption and illegal encroachment into bonded terminals have continued to trail the team.
Dr Aniebonam who brief the media on the activities of the team said that they are not out to witch-hunt anybody nor government agency, but to complement their efforts for better execution of their mandates and make the Nigerian ports a better place.
He hinted that the (NAGAFF) 100% Compliance Team is meant to ensure that operators in the industry comply with rules and guidelines for international trade at the seaport, airports and other entry points at all times by so doing, the government agencies will be able to deliver on their mandates while ensuring that the shippers/ importers and freight forwarders imbibe the culture of compliance.
He said,” with the Compliance Team we will be able stop available seizures by Customs, they are avoidable because they are tradable goods, the law allows them to cine in but are seized dye to the non compliance to duty payments and others” he said.
He added that the NAGAFF 100% Compliance Team should be seen as an ally to Customs and other quality control government agencies.” We are not enemy, so those who see us as one should stop thinking so. We are out to add value to encourage trade’
He said further that for the Compliance Team to achieve the purpose of its set-up and strike a working relationship with government agencies in the industry and also spread the message of complying with rules guidelines by the NAGAFF members and freight forwarders in general, the leadership of the 100% Compliance Team embarked on tour of Bonded Terminals.
The NAGAFF founder disclosed that the weeklong tour which went on very well in majority of the seaports and terminals visited got applaud of Customs officers on ground with the pledge of readiness to partner with members of the Compliance Team in the task of ensuring compliance which will be to the benefit of everyone and government revenue in particular.
Reacting to the alleged faceoff between NAGAFF members and Customs in one or two Bonded Terminals during the tour,he said that it was nothing but a misconception because the briefing received from the leadership of the Compliance Team who are at the center of the controversies states that the visit was largely successful without any serious issues pitting the team against the Nigeria Customs Service or any of its officers.
He added that the findings revealed that no member of NAGAFF ever raised any allegation of arrogance or corruption against any officers of the NCS as portrayed in the the online report.
He hinted that no member that no member of the association was directly accused of any unruly behaviour. ” NAGAFF as an Association has always seen the NCS as an ally and will do everything within the law to ensure that the Service just like other government agencies succeed for the benefit of our great country ” he said.