By Steve Agbota, Lagos
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has decried over 3,000 jobs indigenous clearing agents are losing to foreign operators annually in the nation’s maritime sector.
Speaking at the association’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Lagos on Monday, its National Vice, President Farinto Kayode, lamented that the Customs brokerage, a segment in the logistics chain, which ought to be left for indigenous is been threatened by foreigners invasion.
‘It is no more news that foreigners have taken over this specialised aspect of the logistics chain under the guise of rendering door-to-door service,’ he added.
‘As we speak now, all special project cargoes have been taken over by these foreigners and no government policy seems to be protecting our profession in the nation’s maritime sector.’
He revealed that Maersk line, a shipping line has a registered a clearing outfit called Damco Logistics Ltd, while MSC also hasbeen licensed by the board of Customs to practice Customs brokerages as Medlog Logistics Services Ltd.
He said that young freight forwarders/Customs brokers are gradually losing their jobs while the older ones do not have anything doing lately, adding that ANLCA has put up a protest to the ongoing annual transport summit in Kano.
‘However, we need government protection or better still an executive bill to emanate from the National Assembly to stop foreigners from taking over our job. If this is successful, we would be producing about 3,000 jobs annually for the budding/younger agents,’ he said.
On challenges confronting Customs brokers and freight forwarders, he said logistics index rating of Nigerian has been very poor since the advent of the Controller General of Customs, Col Hamed Ali’s (rtd) administration.
He said the first criteria used by the World Bank in the Logistics Performance Index is the efficiency of the clearance process that is speed, simplicity and predictably of formalities by border control agencies, particularly Customs.
‘It is very unfortunate that the present Customs management team has taken us backward, hence 70 per cent of factors militating against cargo clearances is caused by the Nigeria Customs Service modus operandi. We must b truthful in saying that we have never had it so bad,’ he stated.