Freight forwarders under the umbrella of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have agreed to work together with the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to facilitate trade and enhance revenue collection.
Speaking during a recent official visit of the NAGAFF President to KLT Customs, Martina Tilley-Gyado, Customs Area Controller of KLT Command, assured freight forwarders that the command will create an enabling environment that will drive seamless cargo clearing procedure.
Promising to operate an open-door policy that is geared towards facilitating trade, she pointed out that effective communication mechanisms help in ensuring smooth trade at the port, especially at this time of cargo drought.
Tilley-Gyado implored the freight forwarders to work closely with the command to promote a friendly work environment.
She however pointed out that accessing the terminal was not conducive in the past, adding that the condition of the road linking KLT has improved significantly in recent times.
According to her, issues bothering on issuing of alerts on cargo do not directly from the command but from the service headquarters even as she promised to ensure that the alert given on cargo is minimised to encourage trade facilitation.
Earlier, Tochukwu Ezisi, president of NAGAFF, called on the command’s hierarchy to look into issues affecting cargo clearance from the KLT.
Ezisi, who was represented by Simeon Nwonu, deputy president of NAGAFF, called on the Area Controller to partner with the association as part of efforts to bring back the past glory of KLT command.
“The meeting with the KLT Customs was to inform CAC about the challenges faced by our members. We also came to an agreement with Customs on a friendly approach to cargo clearance because Customs and freight forwarders are like husband and wife; and for us to facilitate trade at the port, we just have to embark on effective communication,” he said.
Emmanuel Umeadi, chairman of the KLT Chapter of NAGAFF, attributed the decline in cargo imports to the high exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira which is discouraging importers from bringing goods into the country.
He said cargo throughput to the nation’s seaport has dropped significantly in recent times and is forcing freight forwarders out of jobs.
Also, Emmanuel Agubanze, chief of Staff to the President of NAGAFF, confirmed that the visit was to solicit a friendly working environment with Customs.
Agubanze pledged that NAGAFF will continue to support and encourage the command under the current leadership of Tilley Gyado to enable it to meet and even surpass the revenue target.