ANLCA insist on Professionalism. ...... Holds Stakeholders Parlay at Apapa.
The association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) rising from its stakeholders meeting recently has maintained its stance on professionalism, which they say is the best approach towards a better relationship with all stakeholders in the industry.
The President of the Chief Uju Tony Nwabunike, in a press release made available to Nigerian Notch in Lagos stated thus "we in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) see our profession, not only as a means of livelihood, but also as a way of contributing to national economic, social and total well being of consumers."
He said that its as a result of this, we have an unsung ethic of promoting standards and best practices across various areas in the course of carrying out our cargo clearing functions at the seaports, airports and border stations in the country.
He further stated that over time, the customs brokers have been victims of substandard importation by importers who, in some cases, failed to disclose to them the actual content or degree of compliance with extant rules like SON Confornmity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).
It is however of note that the influx of these illicit products, in addition to being injurious to our national economy, also spells doom for our people. A proverb among the lgbos says "When a man throws a stone into the market, he does not know whether it is his mother or another close relation that would be hit by the stone'
Chief Nwabunike, went on to stress that In view of copious challenges faced in their line of business, that they have taken it upon themselves to educate importers on the need for their compliance to safeguard lives and avoid losses emanating from seizures and destruction of fake and substandard goods.
This task is daunting, he said, but stressed that they are not relenting because customs brokers have suffered an estimated cumulative value losses amounting to over N20b in the last ten years for undertaking to clear goods discovered to be sub standards.
Continuing he said that upon seizure of suspected fake or substandard goods after payment of duty, it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an importer, whose consignments were seized to pay you the balance of the agreed sum even after the broker has spent his money on the logistics.
He lamented that this is just a mild analogy of the costly price we as professionals are paying to achieve standards and build an enduring economy that will be beneficial to all.
He said that earlier this month, SON destroyed N480m worth of substandard mobile phones, late last year, the organization also destroyed 5000 fake gas cylinders valued at N51.3m. These are just two examples of a routine activity that promotes quality in our country, which they as an organization subscriber to.
He stressed that destroying investment channeled wrongly towards fake and substandard goods may look harsh, but preventing death, injuries and pains of buying poor standard imported items is a great humanitarian task.
He therefore commend SON for saving lives, as SON is raising the Nigeria flag high in the global standard community where over 164 countries converge under the aegis of Geneva based international Standard Organization (ISON). We can only say, you should raise it higher.
He thanked the present Chief Executive Officer Osita Aboloma, whom he said has raised the bar higher, even for the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) which comes with the mark of quality for certified products.
Chief Tony Uju Nnabunike said that they are aware that the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme
-A mandatory programme to which all locally manufactured products in Nigeria must comply with before the product can be allowed to be distributed to the market is presently being improved upon.
He maintained that they will continue to follow SON's activities, as they have seen it close down or suspend production of non MANCAP compliant manufacturers. These efforts are outstanding and indeed very commendable.
He also commended the stakeholders meeting which was brought to the port at a time when access to Apapa comes with inconvenience which to them is another mark of resilience, commitment and selflessness on the part of SON.
He therefore urged every one of us, either as individuals or corporate entities to join SON in the noble battle to instill standards and raise quality in all we import, manufacture, buy and sell.
He further implored that SON's laboratories to be sited in the six geopolitical zones of the country which should operate under a culture of due diligence, non compromise and efficiency to justify Federal Government Investment on them for maximum positive results, which to him wi be as a way of contributing to the actualization of government's ease of doing business and trade facilitation objections. He also called on the Nigeria Customs Service to quickly integrate SON into its upgraded home grown technology platform, Nigeria Customs Information Systems (NICIS II).
Concluding, he said "While we prepare to participate in intra African Trade under the banner of Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement, let's be reminded that good quality will be a key to penetrating new market frontiers in Africa"