President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Agents (NCMDCA), Mr Lucky Amiwero has written to the Presidency to explain the difference between customs brokers and freight forwarders in their professional practice.
The explanation may not be unconnected with the order by the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaehi to the various leaders of customs brokers and freight forwarders to register with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) or lose their licences.
Amiwero who is against this order by the Minister argued that both customs brokers and freight forwarders are different professionals, adding that compelling customs brokers to register with the CRFFN was uncalled for.
In the letter, he said, “Freight forwarding either as Transport function and legal practice is not contained anywhere in the Customs and Excise Management Act C45 2004, the only legal and operating function is the CUSTOM AGENT under section 153-156 of the Customs and Excise Management Act.
Legally, Freight Forwarding has never being practiced or licensed in Nigeria but only the Licensed Customs Agent, so the provision of section 19-(2) of the CRFFN Act has no relation to Licensed Customs Agents who are legally Licensed and regulated by Federal Ministry of Finance”.
He simply described freight forwarder as transporters by Section 30 of CRFFN Act, while describing customs agents or brokers as those who by law and practice are involved in “interpretation, classification, treatment and application of intentional trade procedure and Government Fiscal policies”.
On the order by the Minister for registration with the CRFFN, he said this will amount to duplication of registration, which according to him will eventually create serious conflict in control due to the individual registration who according to him have not been trained on the rudiment of licensed custom agency business.
He added, “the duplicated regulation will seriously affect Nigeria Customs as regards the individual membership who are not licensed, there will be double regulation that will lead to conflict between Nigeria Customs Service and the CRFFN, with compliance, sanction and enforcement of the (CEMA), which is strange to the freight forwarders, who are transporters”