By Godfrey Bivbere

THE Federal Government has been called upon to grant a percentage of all revenue collected as duty on her behalf to clearing agents as a way of curbing corruption at the ports.

In an exclusive chat with Vanguard in Lagos, a front line freight forwarder and Chief Executive Officer of Shiba Services Ltd, Babatunde Shittu, said that corruption would be greatly reduced if government should give agents certain percentage of revenue collected.

Shittu who was part of the executive course organized by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), explained that such action would reduce the temptation for clearing agents to cut corners on behalf of their principles.

According to him, ?Like I mentioned earlier, for every duty, every tax collected for the government and I want to widen it, not only the government, even the money collected on behalf of Terminal Operators, on behalf of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on behalf of Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), they are supposed to give (clearing) agents a percentage because we are collecting these money for them.?

Reminded that agents get paid by their principles and by his demand should be asking for too much, he pointed out that what they get from their importers is for the service that they have rendered and stressed that without them making honest declaration, government would continue to loss revenue.

He noted that no agents would want to cut corner if he knows that he would get a percentage of every job handled. In his words, ?Take for example, if I handle a job which has duty of say N100 million and I know that I will get, lets say, five percent of that amount which is N5 million, why should I want to cut corners for the importer??

On the domination of the freight forwarding business by foreigners, Shittu explained that it is because Nigerian operators lack technical knowledge.

He said that most Nigerian operators limit themselves to clearing and forwarding aspect of the business and therefore lost out on the bigger picture where the money is.

According to the Shiba Services Ltd, ?Our international partners sometimes find it difficult to use the facilities of the local agents because they believe that they are not well equipped.

He, however, stressed that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) has commenced the training of registered practitioners as the first step to empowering them with the necessary knowledge to enable them compete effectively with their foreign counterparts.

He explained that the Council has commenced training for CEO?s of all the registered freight forwarding companies, at the end of which it would then be extended to staff of these companies.

He noted that, ?Now we are more equipped, more empowered through the training.

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