By Samson Echenim
LAGOS—FOUNDER of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Anebonam has called for the adoption of individual declarant in the country’s trade system.
Speaking with maritime journalists in Lagos Thursday, Anebonam stressed that the current system, where the declarant in trade documents is a corporate body, as recognised by the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA, was responsible for myriad of trade malpractices common in the country’s trade system, as dubious individuals hide under the veil of corporate identity to commit crimes, such as under-declaration and deliberate wrongful declaration of imported goods.
He said: “The corporate veil helps to cover criminality in the trade system. We have been clamouring for Customs to recognise individuals as declarants, not a corporate body. The practice of using a corporate body as a declarant gives room to multiples of trade malpractices, including under-declaration, wrong declaration and involvement of foreigners in the clearing of goods in Nigerian ports. They do all this hiding under corporate veil.
“Again, this is where the Nigeria Customs Service must collaborate with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, being the body that registers freight and regulates freight forwarders. Every freight forwarder has a practice number given him by CRFFN and when he declares goods and put his number, it will be easy to fish him out if he commits crime in the trade system.”