THE Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) has berated the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) for calling on the Federal Government to approve the return of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to the seaports, describing the call as very unfortunate.
The President of SALS, Rev. Dr Jonathan Nicol who spoke to journalists on Wednesday in Lagos, registered his displeasure over the calls, adding that he was pained more by the fact that the associations that were supposed to protect the shippers were the ones calling for the return of SON to the ports.
Nicol added that the SON should not be allowed to return to the ports because, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) was well equipped to handle the functions of SON.
According to Nicol, “Whether they come into the ports or not, we are still paying them for doing nothing. The Conformity Certificate is supposed to be used for export, so you cannot give standard to ISO standard. If you want to register goods; why must that attract over N3, 000 per container? Again, why must SON ask the importers to come and register their products as if that is the only duty you want to perform?
“We are really sad because our own contractors are the ones trying to kill us by asking SON to come back knowing full well that we are the ones giving them jobs to do, and we cannot continue to spend money unreasonably.
So, stakeholder’s should protect shippers except if they are benefitting from SON’s presence in the ports. We don’t need that kind of advocacy.
“What are they looking for in the port? They should stem whatever substandard products they detect in their regional offices before they are even shipped to this country, and any country that violates that law, report them to the Federal Government.
“Government will tell such errant countries that if they continue to bring this type of goods to our country, we will stop trade with them.
Those days, we were not trading with China, we were not trading with India, was it not the same federal government? So, why are they now calling for the return of SON to the port?
“We want them to protect shippers because we are partners. I am speaking from the platform that government says don’t come to the ports, is that not enough? They should respect the government.”
It will be recalled that the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam had last week at a media roundtable in Lagos called for the return of the SON to the seaports to check issues of substandard import into the country.
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