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‘Nigerian customs agents can work in other countries’

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The Founder of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr Lucky Amiwero, has said that Nigerian licensed custom agents can practice globally.

Amiwero, in an exclusive chat with Saturday PUNCH on Wednesday, said many Nigerian customs agents were already dominating clearing operations in other climes such as Europe and the United States.

He also said that the agents have migrated to some African ports, where there were better policies, in search of greener pastures.

Amiwero said that FIATA covers freight forwarders and not Customs brokers.

“You can see that licensed custom agents that have been leaving the country are not only going abroad, but most of them are also in Ghana, Cotonou, Togo, among others. They are all over the place. People are leaving the country because they find out that the economy is bad. They are leaving the country to do Customs brokerage. There is nothing like FIATA in America. What you have there is custom brokerage. They don’t go through FIATA. FIATA is transport related; it is not a custom brokerage. In America, you don’t need a freight forwarder license.”

Amiwero said that some of his members trained in Nigeria were practising in places such as Canada, among others.

“They were trained and certified here. None of those talking about FIATA can train anyone. They don’t even understand what the procedure is all about. FIATA is for transporters and we are not transporters. We are under the ministry of finance and not transport.”

Corroborating Amiwero, a former chairman of Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited chapter of NCMDLCA, Abayomi Duyile, said custom brokerage is more lucrative abroad.

“Many Nigerians are into freight forwarding business in Europe now. Nigerians are involved in most cargo that come into the country from Europe because it is a very lucrative business over there in Europe and US. They enjoy very good patronage. In the USA, there is a precondition, where you have to do certain training before you practice. Unlike in Nigeria where you can just practice.”

Meanwhile, the acting National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Kayode Farinto, said it is easier to practice in developed climes such as Europe than in African countries because of indigenisation.

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