The Value News

ANLCA: Back To Life

By Stephen Ubanna  

Barely two weeks after Tony Nwabunike, President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA,  took the   National Executive Committee members, NECOM, to Abuja, to see  Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Federal Government and Gbemisola Saraki, a Senator and minister of  state, Transportation, overseeing the  nation’s maritime sector, the Association  appear to have  bounced back to life  to protect the interest of Agents.

 At a recent  meeting  with Mustapha, the SGF, who incidentally , was  a one –time  Managing Director, of Nigerian Inland Water Authority, NIWA, the Association had complained about the numerous security agencies at the seaports, the terminal operators and the shipping Companies, which activities  hampers the ease of doing business,   at the ports.

 Between last year and now, the two agencies which importers and their  agents had been very critical about for finding their way  back to the seaports were the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SO and National Agency For Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, insisting they must  be withdrawn from the seaport to facilitate the Clearing process as they could do their job   from their office and still achieve results.

 The ANLCA president  was said to have pleaded the SGF, to use his position streamline the number of agencies at the  seaports to reduce the cost of clearing goods at the nation’s seaports, which is considered higher than what obtains in  Benin Republic, Togo , Ghana  and the ports the Central African country of Cameron.  Appealing to the SGF, to use his vantage  position to reach out to the ministers  supervising  NAFDAAC, son and other   agencies at the  port whose personnel are involved  the physical  examination of cargoes  to come  up with standard procedures for members to key  into to avoid killing their businesses.

 Ossy boloma,  the Director General,  SON,may  have known that there is trouble ahad  for  the agency if ALCA,  the country’s foremost Association  for agents which was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1954, should molise its members  to Campaign   against the withdrawal  of its personnel from the ports.

It was therefore not very surprisisng that when the Association leadership requested to the t agency Director General , he did not hesitate in giving approval for the ANLCA  officials  to come over in order to isten to their Complaints and reach a meeting point to facilitate the ese of doing business at the ports.

Nwabunike, according to sources, did not hesitate I opening  up to the SON   helmsman who gave him a listening ear. An appreciative  ANLCA President  had told Maritime Journalists who  had laid ambush over the meeting  them to know the decisions reached   by  the parties may have gladdened  the heart of  agents  when he  disclosed what they had   discussed .

‘’We discussed Operational matters  and the  way forward based on existing mutual relationship between  the parties’’, he had said.  The most instructive was the agreement that was said to have been reached between the Association and the  was that  the later has  agreed to sensitise  Importers  with their agents  that could be imported and the standard required to  avoidfalling into the waiting hands of officials  at the  port  if suspected to be substandard. Of quality.  To avoid running into trouble  with its officials.

Maritime watchers believe  that if the leadership of ANLCA, had been alive to their duties in the past by  reaching out to these agencies, particular, SON, many importers, whose cargoes had been Confiscated for low quality could  not have   had such problems.

An elated Nwabunike   noted that the visit to the SON   Director General  have kept abreast  of the requirements  for the importation  of goods , particularticular, regulated products  into the country, noting  that the problem  which importer have had with SON  officials  at the port  has become a thing of the past  .

Aboloma, the SON, boss who is not someone to  pushed around by Importers or their agents to for force him to do  the unexpected was said  to have made it clear to Nwabunike and his Association members that the agency Commitment in checking  the influx of substandard goods into the country  will continue the importers are ready to turn a new leaf.  

DG SON

Investigation  by The Value News shows that  most of the substandard  goods that had been imported into the country over the years, particular, Cables and bulbs, had been shipped from the Asian  country of China. A SON  official  who spoke to the Magazine  exonerated the Chinese manufacturers from blame , noting that it is  the order placed by  the  importers, who are mostly Ibos, that they produce and supply to them to sell in the Nigeria market.

Perhaps, to ensure that Importers  know the dos and don’ts, in the Importation of cargoes into the country  to avoid falling into the waiting hands of the agency officials and subsequently lose their goods to to government,  to facilitate the issuance the agency, according to Aboloma, the Director General, has upgraded its Platform to facilitate the issuance   of its  Conformity  Assessment  Programme, SONCAP, to mporters.

Maritime watchers, would want Aboloma,the SON  helmsman  to sanitise the agency in order to remove the bad eggs.  As they also produce sub-standard goods. Even within the country , some manufacturing  firms are worse than the chines firms  who connive with Nigerian  Importers, who could produce the SONCap to manufacture form them. Many of these Cmpanies  are located in hideouts in different parts  Lagos state. This why SON officials may have to go all out for them instead of concentrating all their efforts in waiting for imported foreign substandard goods at the seaport, airport or land border areas. To knock out substandard goods from the Nigerian market. On the agency

The leadership of the National Association of Government Approved Freight   Forwarders, NAFF, over the years , had thrown their weight . The Association had seen the agency proposed   introduction  of the Product Authentication  Mark, PAM, to ensure that both locally and foreign manufactured goods imported into the country   conforms to Standards that will  go a long way to safeguard lives  and properties of people in the country. The Association was said to have taken it upon itself to sensitise members in order to carry the message to their  importers  to avoid importation of substandard goods as they stand the risk of losing it to government.

Stephen Ubanna

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