NPA Electronic  Call-up System Is A Scam – Oduntan 

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Excerpt: in a brief chat with the Vice president of Association of Nigeria License Customs Agent (ANLCA), Prince Olusegun Oduntan, he dwell on the expectations of Customs brokers from the government for the year 2024 as regards to ports operation system, increase in exchange rate among others.
He urged Federal Government to make room for more incentives to encourage those aspiring to go into export trade.
Prince Oduntan who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Settle Systems Nigeria Limited, a leading Licensed Customs agency that has stand the taste of time, disclosed that as far he is concerned, the ETO call-up system is a scam which   has to be lay off or improved upon.
 

With the year  2024 budget been passed what are we expecting from the freight forwarders most especially ANLCA, vis- a-vis the leadership, business, clearing and forwarding and  what can we relate to the government on how the port system can move forward.

What ANLCA have, especially this our regime knowing fully well that we are coming out from a crisis that we have all waved behind for peace to reign so that business can strive. What we have in mind is to inform the government what is right in the port industry and the port environment. Our expectations are for the naira to come down and at the same time if we are saying dollar should come down what about export that we are clamouring for because it is vise versa and so it should go in between.
 We are encouraging our people to embrace export trade. Some are even going into agriculture so they can be exporting the proceeds. This will enable us to backup government moves and also urge our members to be compliant with government regulations. With our compliancy  we will be able to dialogue with the government agencies and they will inturn listen to us
Clearing agents are the one’s driving the port but the least respected, the cargoes that are being rushed after at the ports  belongs to us,  people are collecting things left and right from the port, we that are fronting the preparation of the documentations, pay the duty, terminal, shipping, transporters and what have you but still the least respected.
Ours is to take the leadership position back so that all of us and our people coming behind can benefit from what ANKCA use to be in the past with total readiness to lead by example. Integrity is the outermost important now. We are also trying to collaborate with leadership of other clearing and freight association to see how we can move this industry forward.
Talking about export as regards to exchange rate. We can see that presently we are not doing well in export trade, what do you think that government can do to encourage exports trade. 
There are incentives such as export grants and others that can be given to people doing export, the other thing is the port system environment, cargoes that are loaded with export goods find it difficult to enter our ports for weeks which is not suppose to be.
 In the process some of the goods will get spoilt due to the delay, which is very bad. That’s the issue of port access system, the ETO call-up system as far as am concern is a scam, it has to go. In Ghana, the access road to Tema port is not as big as ours here and you can never see any container  littering the road, once it’s time for export goods to move in they do it and if it’s time for import goods to come out it follow suite, if you do not have anything to do in the port you will not access it.
 A lot of things to change in terms of orientation on our part as clearing agents apart from the government. Most times what we see on ground that makes export cargoes not to access the ports are human factors. People are fast improving on exportation now but the problem we still have is how does the export goods get to it’s final destination thereby making the economy to loose a lot of forex on that. Look at the he port corridor system, the rail suppose to work like 24/7, it should not be the road alone. It’s not every terminal that barge can access, some are double handling while some are triple  which you have to cost and the risk involved. There are lots of things to write out and proposed to the minister if he wants things to work out. We have made it known that we don’t intend to criticize anyone in government but we have to tell them the things that needs to be done for our survival and for the economy to move on.
The Comptroller General of Customs recently expressed optimism to  meet up their 2024 target of 5trillion naira, clearing agents play a major role in helping Customs  realized their targets but looking  at the economy situation vis-a-vis high exchange rate and even low volume of import, how realistic is Customs going to generate this target.
 
Customs will generate their revenue because you are not paying anything if you don’t import anything, they have their calculation, it’s a projection by them that if by so and so period we were able to generate so so amount then we should be able to generate this and that amount for the year, they are being preemptive that they should be able to generate certain amount at a certain period based on past record.
Possibility of generating their target shouldn’t raise fear for anyone, you just have to be optimistic about realizing it. As a business man or head of an agency, when doing your projection for the year you don’t have to stand and say I don’t think I can be able to make so so amount even when you know that you can only make little amount tell your staff the projection for the year is a high amount so as to make everybody sit tight and aim high.
Meanwhile if the cargo is not there what can he do? The CGC is on appointment he is on a seat and he has to drive economy with all that is been expected from him. He can tell you the amount they intend to generate and that should not drive anybody anywhere. He has been talking to his officers, we can see a renew Customs now, people are happy doing the work and we agents have been talking to our people that it is better to be compliant than paying one levy or fine because you find out that there is no point if I have to pay a duty of #3 million for instance and I went and pay #1.6m and been given a DN, the penalty of 25%  of that amount , it doesn’t make any sense. It’s better to be compliant from the onset  that will give you peace of mind of a fruitful day at work.
What we are trying to get here sir is that with what is on ground interns of port access road, port system,  high exchange rate and low volume of importation, do you think it is possible for  Customs  to  realize this year revenue target?
This is a new year, even with the issues on ground it is possible, like I said every business man and agency head must be optimistic when it comes to their yearly projection of revenue generation.
How do you think we can sanitize trucks littering our port  access roads.
First, trucks coming into Tincan, TICT, Port and Cargo, PTML and some other small terminals by the road in  Kirikiri, we can all agreed as of today in the whole world that every economy, every system is been driven by improved  technology, E- system control. So those private terminals are supposed to have a central gate where we have our cargo there and after we release our cargoes we are suppose to be the one to give the code to a driver after collecting our TDO to go and load. Every driver would have done their biometric and when you have a cargo to take it’s either you present the code or the biometric to be able to access the terminal, with that you don’t have anything to do littering the road when you are not called up to pick anything.
The major thing there is  that we that process the cargo are supposed to be the one to give access to trucks and not NPA, they have outlived their usefulness and abused the process. What are they all rushing to do at the terminals when they don’t have any cargoes to pick.
A word of encouragement to your members for  year
Our members should be compliant this year while going about our businesses, be hopeful and believe that Nigeria will be better for all of us in this new year.

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