April 16, 2024

Maritime Today Online

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ANLCA President engages Customs CG over fluctuation in exchange rates

.… urges collaborative solutions during meeting with CRFFN

The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Emenike Nwokeoji, has expressed deep concerns over the challenges faced by members in the wake of the fluctuating exchange rate used to calculate customs duty on imported goods.

Speaking when he received the Acting Registrar of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mrs Chinyere Uromta, and her management team at the ANLCA secretariat in Lagos on Wednesday, Emenike lamented that the ongoing fluctuations and increments set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are significantly impacting business operations at the ports.

He disclosed that the ANLCA National Executive Committee (NECOM) had engaged with the Comptroller-General of Customs, Wale Adeniyi, with a view to addressing the issue and find solutions for the practitioners.

The ANLCA President emphasized the urgency of addressing the fluctuating exchange rates, citing a decline in importation and the resultant frustration among agents.

He assured members that the association is actively working towards a positive outcome, with expectations of a resolution within the coming week.

He stated that even Customs management is grappling with the repercussions of fluctuating exchange rates, impacting their ability to meet revenue targets.

“We were in Abuja because of this fluctuating exchange rate, importation is dropping daily, and yet the government is talking about generating revenue, if I don’t have container to clear I will not even know where your office is so let us talk about the containers coming in first, then whoever wants to collect revenue can come, but right now, an agent is an angry man.

“We went to Abuja, not on appointment, but insisted that we want to see the Comptroller General because the agents are about stoning us, when you capture a job today, in the next one hour the exchange rate is changed.

“I want to use the opportunity to appeal to our members. Our journey to Abuja will achieve a positive outcome.

“In the next one week, we should have a cheering news. The Customs management themselves are not comfortable with the fluctuating exchange rate.

“As we were sitting there, they were looking at the number of PAARs registered, submitted, it’s being shown live, real time. They are seeing that not even one day have they met the revenue target. So, it’s bitting on them as well.

“We all are putting heads together, So, it’s a national calamity. You people should please bear with us, hold yourselves, the same way we are complaining, it’s not easy for the customs too because when the exchange rate changes in the system, nobody consults the customs, it’s purely CBN matter. They are the ones that regulate the exchange rate, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Nwokeoji has cautioned the CRFFN against undermining ANLCA’s role within the Council, stressing the association’s significant contribution to the formation of the freight forwarding council.

He expressed disappointment with the alleged hijacking of the council by individuals without licenses or business registrations, emphasizing that ANLCA must not be looked down upon.

The ANLCA President urged the CRFFN to recognize the association’s pivotal role and collaborate effectively for the benefit of the industry.

“Our meeting here today is to re-establish and reinvigorate an existing relationship, the first council was formed by over 80 percent of members of ANLCA, the first and second council chairmen were from ANLCA.

“CRFFN is ANLCA’s making, I personally know the inputs we made and hosted the then Deputy speaker of House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha over this Act, I know what it took us to visit the National Assembly to defend this Act, but the moment the council came on stream, some people came in as vultures, and claim to be what they are not. People that never contributed a penny, they hijacked the council, they put billboards all over the ports registering members.

“Meanwhile, we took all our strength to renew our practicing licenses, after renewal, we go to register in each of the shipping companies every year, and yet, we have people claiming to be members of CRFFN, they have nobody they are accountable to, no licenses, no business registration, nothing, and yet we are being looked down on.

“We are too big to be hoodwinked. We have the platform.

‘”The worst thing that can happen to an organisation is to looked down on ANLCA, it then means that you don’t want to move forward.

“It is very hard for an average agent, if an importet imports any item, the agent interacts with various agencies at the port to get approvals before a single item is cleared from the port, and yet we would step out and people would look down on us?

“When we see agencies that are supposed to regulate and ameliorate our pain, coming to add to the pain, we feel bad. An average agent today is boiling” he said.

Speaking earlier, Mrs. Uromta acknowledged ANLCA’s support to the CRFFN and recognized the association as a strong pillar of support to the nation’s economy, particularly the maritime sector.

She acknowledged challenges in POF fee remittances and assured ANLCA of efforts to address outstanding payments and enhance collaboration for the betterment of freight forwarders.

Photo caption: 

L-R: Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Segun Oduntan; Acting Registrar, Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Mrs Chinyere Uromta; and President of ANLCA, Emenike Nwokeoji when Uromta led the CRFFN management team on a visit to ANLCA’s secretariat in Lagos on Wednesday. 


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