A Presidential candidate of the Association of Nigeria Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Emenike Nwokeoji, has promised to reinforce publicity and media hypes in order to call both Government and public attentions to the onerous and enviable but denigrated revenue contributions of customs licensed agents to national coffers and the Nigerian economy.
Emenike told PortNewsNigeria that the image of the customs agents should reflect his big contributions to the growth of the economy and this he will set out to achieve by giving a priority to the media and communication. “We need to launder our image, through increased media workings we will let the government and the good people of Nigeria know the role we play in creating national wealth” he noted and wondered why the Nigeria Customs Service celebrated their achievement of generation revenue of over a trillion Naira, much beyond their set target, without acknowledging the contributions of customs agents who are the cannon fodders in the enterprise. “The Ministry of Finance always gives much praise to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) each year for revenue generated. Why can’t Customs do same to us, customs agents?” he asked and blamed it to a lack of publicity and good communication. “My administration will correct this if we win by God’s grace.”
The ANLCA chieftain said he will work to improve the relationship between customs agents and other stakeholders. “We are the fulcrum of cargo operations and our relationships with such vital agencies of government as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers Council, NIMASA, NAFDAC and others have to be mutually self respecting, and not from a point of weakness.”
As a major step towards achieving his goals, the aspirant promised to establish a strong ANLCA presence in the capital, Abuja. he noted though that freight forwarding is largely a coastal oriented job, but for strategic reasons, a noticeable presence in Abuja is a priority. “We will work actively to register our presence with the authorities in Abuja most especially the Federal Ministries of Trade and Industries, Transportation and Finance. We will amplify our PR and by so doing we will be considered in vital policies formulations for the port industry or maritime sector, opined Emenike, a port politician and longstanding customs agent.
For Emenike, of top priority is the issue of remittance of a commission to customs agents by the Federal Government for revenue they help collect for national coffers. He quipped that since customs themselves are given seven percent as commission from the entire revenue generated, customs agents by same token, should be so remunerated. “Without our industry, our commitment, they can’t realise their goals, they can’t make the one trillion as customs duties realised. We have made submissions many times that we be given due recognition, that we be paid commission as agents. If you reward your agent duly, commensurately, it would reduce collusion but encourage loyalty. We will continue to pray for the commission and pray it sees the light of the day,” Emenike submitted.
Most importantly, the ANLCA presidential candidate promised to embark on an all embracing education and exposure project for ANLCA members to fill and apparent blatant capacity gap in modern Customs processing procedures and international professional comportment. “My Government will arrange training programmes in collaboration with relevant agencies so that our members can be trained to perform optimally. Freight forwarding and the Customs brokerage is an international profession and our members must be up to international standards. Luckily, we already have understandings with FIATA, IFCAB and others, we will leverage these to give our members international trainings and exposures. A way of building on what the present Shittu administration has laid down,” he concluded.