The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has urged the Federal government to urgently take step to address what it called, foreign dominance of the nation’s logistics supply chain, a sub sector of international trade in the country.
The association which claimed its foundation in 1999 became necessary in order to address “touting and unorthodox practices” in freight forwarding in Nigeria also lamented that foreigners had taken over the business to the detriment of Nigerians.
To this end, the association has taken its agitation to the doorsteps of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja, where it called on the Minister; Mr. Okechukwu Enelama, to liaise with other relevant ministries and agencies in addressing the issues.
The group was led during the mission to the Ministry on Tuesday, by its National President, Mr. Oluwole Adeyemi.
“Sir, the need for this visit was prompted by the burning desire of the present Government to diversify the economy, create employment opportunities for the teeming population and ensure sustainable growth of the economy.
“It is in line with the mindset of the Federal Government in this regard that we wish to briefly draw the attention of the Hon. Minister of Industry Trade and Investment to some areas of concern”.
The NAGAFF leader listed the worrisome issues to include: “Exclusive control and domination by foreigners, Unprofessional conduct by some Government Agencies, Uncertainties created by Government policies, lack of adequate infrastructure and Import of fake/substandard/adulterated goods”.
Other factors which the association listed as some of the anti-trade issues are import bans and restriction of tradable goods, lack of full automation of the clearance process, non adherence to some global trade treaties by some global and regional bodies such as ECOWAS, WTO,WCO, IMO, etc.
The group further pointed out that other related vises such as trade malpractices by the importing public, high local shipping/Terminal charges, frivolous issuance of notice of under payment and incessant Server failure and alert system, had continued to undermine trade.
NAGAFF also specifically condemned what it called, “ambushing of containers on the highways by government agencies” for no just cause.
“Trade facilitation has remained a global phenomenon which ensures the free flow of trade and the elimination of all hindrances to the smooth movement of goods and services along the Transport Logistics Supply Chain.
“Nevertheless, while other national Governments ensure that all barriers to trade are promptly addressed to ensure unimpeded trade flow, the Nigeria Supply Chain environment is characterized by exclusive control and domination by foreigners, unprofessional conduct by some Government Agencies (and) uncertainties created by Government policies”.
The sector, they claimed, was similarly bedeviled by “unfair competition, lack of local content initiative in most projects, lack of financial incentives and inadequate training and empowerment”.
On the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) sector, the association further pointed out that the economy in general had not fared better; despite the seeming milestone government had recorded in some notable areas.
“We are aware that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a global tool often used by developing countries to pursue rapid development and growth of their economies, create employment, develop businesses, inject fund and develop capacity etc.
“We are also aware of the various legal backings and the investment codes that back the FDI; like the Nigeria investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) (Decree N0. 16 of 1995) and the foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous provision) Decree N0. 17 of 1995.
“To some extent we have seen the impact of the policy in the development and opening of some sectors like the maritime, oil and gas, ICT and the telecommunication and others. However, we can also confirm that the policy has been a major hindrance to the development of the freight forwarding sub sector in particular”.
As a way forward, the body called on government to embark on gradual local capacity development, through some departments and agencies such as small and medium scale business financing agency, Bank of Industry, overseas exchange training programmes, amongst others.