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Trade regulations: Freight forwarders to expose agencies for non-compliance

Worried by a high level of double standards in the operations of government agencies and service providers at the nation’s seaports, freight forwarders have threatened to ‘name and shame’ those not complying with trade regulations.

According to them, non-compliance to trade regulations has made the cost of doing business in Nigerian ports become the highest in the entire West African region.

Emma Agunbaze, chairman of the newly-inaugurated 100percent Compliance Response Team of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), who disclosed this during a visit to Tanko Ibrahim, the national coordinator of the 100% Compliance team in Lagos recently, said many Nigerian businesses have lost their investments to lack of compliance to trade regulations.

He said the team will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that service providers, freight forwarders, and government agencies involved in cargo clearance at the port, comply with rules that guide trade.

Read also: Construction to begin as Bonny joins planned deep seaports

“Nigerian bond cargoes are diverted to ports in other neighbouring countries in Africa, which are subsequently smuggled into the country. But, the maritime industry will witness a new force as the response team is ready to expose government agencies that have fallen short of standards,” he said.

Earlier, Tanko Ibrahim said the response team will work with the 100percent compliance team to ensure there is compliance in the maritime sector.

Tanko also commended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for setting up a committee to examine the standards and operations of bonded terminals in the country.

According to him, over 60 percent of bonded terminals in Nigeria are operating below standard such that some operate without forklifts and other equipment.

He said that after the assessment by the Customs committee, the NAGAFF compliance team will still go back to the bonded terminals to assess the terminals.

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