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No law establishing customs brokering, says CRFFN chief

The Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) on Thursday said that any licensed customs agent practicing brokerage in the country was just a broker by labeling.

Mr. Increase Uche, Chairman of Committee on Research and International Liason of the council made the assertion at a roundtable session with the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos.

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Uche, who was discussing the one-year stewardship of the committee, said that no law had established brokerage in the country.

“Presently, no law has established customs brokering but has recognized a customs licensed agent in the country, and since custom licensing started, there has not been any value-added improvement to the system.

“To bring about change which has to do with custom brokering, there is a need to ensure that once we enthrone custom brokering, it will be for only indigenous companies,” he said.

Uche said that the government and customs could not license a foreigner to go into custom brokering.

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He said that the committee, through research, had made some findings and submitted a road map that would move the subsector forward.

“There is need in the area of custom license administration to migrate from the present process and procedure of cargo clearance, compared with other regions, to ensure sanity in the whole system.

“Freight forwarding does not start and end at the ports but has to do with all logistics, processes and so there is need for uniformity in cargo clearance system in all ports,” Uche said.

He noted that to sanitize members, registration as a freight forwarder was not the only thing that would be required, but after registration, certification would take place.

Uche said that a gap existed which had to do with creating a national body, the professional arm of CRFFN, which would enable the profession to be well recognized and help to resolve who a freight forwarder was.

On port operations, the chairman said that promises made to ensure they are user-friendly to increase productivity should be kept.

He said that if the terminals were not modernized with technology, there was no way the efficiency of the port operation could be guaranteed.

“If well structured with the right procedure, we will not be seeing cargo delays and congestion; transactional speed would also increase,” he said.

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