Against complaints made by indigenous freight forwarders operating at the Nigerian ports over foreign infiltration into their trade, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) weekend justified issuing Customs licenses to foreign companies who engage in cargo clearance at the nation’s entry points.
The Controller of Customs in charge the Tin Can Island Port command, Lagos, Comptroller Mohammed Musa, said foreigners had taken over the freight forwarding business in Nigeria because Nigerians lacked good managerial skills to handle positions and carry out work effectively.
The Controller made this known while receiving the new executives of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN), who paid a courtesy visit in his office recently.
The President of the Association, Mr. Anya Njoku, had in his remark lamented how foreigners had taken over the clearance of cargo at the seaport, leaving Nigerian freight forwarders idle.
He said, “If nothing is done urgently to correct the trend, Nigerians will lose their jobs.
“As it is, the essence of government setting up the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria has not been achieved because the role of the CRFFN, among other things, is to protect indigenous interest.”
Anya had accused foreign freight forwarders of placing orders with suppliers, shipping cargo into the country, clearing it and delivering it to the consignees.
While responding to the question however, Comptroller Mohammed said the clamour by licensed customs agents for the indigenisation of clearance of goods at Nigerian ports might not be achieved anytime soon due to what he branded lack of managerial ability and competence by indigenous freight forwarders in the country.
According to him, “I think the reason why foreigners are taking over our jobs and not just the freight forwarding business is because we are not good managers.
“So many Nigerians are complacent to work and that’s why you will find foreigners in almost all the sectors in Nigeria.
“When you come to the port you will see Indians and others taking over the freight forwarding business.
“When you go to schools you will find the Ghanaians taking over the teaching professions.
“Even many of this okada riders you see in the port areas are not Nigerians, some are from Niger, Togo and some other neighbouring countries.
“Even in the Aviation sector you will see that some of the Airlines are being handled by foreigners because they possess good managerial skills. Where is the Nigerian Airways, the Chanchangi Airlines and other indigenous Airlines?
“But I believe if the government can come up with trainings that will improve the productivity of our people this will go a long way in saving our jobs”, he said.
Comptroller Mohammed M.B.A., CAC of Tin Can Customs