The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) will collaborate with the Nigerian Shippers Council to cause a dawn-ward review of port terminal charges with a view to consummating the federal government policy of Ease of Doing Business and subsequently whittling down inflation in the common market.
This declaration was made Monday 26th March by Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike, newly elected President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in an interview with PortNewsNigeria in Lagos.
He said every major stakeholder in the maritime industry must be selfless and patriotic in order to achieve a more functional and productive system beginning with the terminal operators who must be made to consider a slash in the handling charges in tandem with economic realities in Nigeria today.
‘ANLCA under my leadership will seek a partnership, a working arrangement with the Nigerian Shippers Council to, firstly, persuade port terminal operators to review downwards their charges, which presently are too high and not considerate of the economic and financial situations in the country. They are part of us, our common humanity and so, have to be realistic. With the Nigerian Shippers Council, we will hopefully succeed in this aspect,’ opined the President-elect.
Of greater worry to Nwabunike, the first Chairman of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRRFN), was the infiltration and near total hijack of the clearing and forwarding profession by foreigners, a development which, he noted, was not only illegal but inimical to the growth of the nation’s economy.
‘Conventionally, all over the world, customs agency job is done by indigenes of each country because it has both social and economic implications when foreigners get involved. Today, we have in Nigeria, Indians, Asians, Lebanese, Ghanaians, Gabonese, even Togolese taking over cargo clearing and forwarding and almost pushing our people out. This is not acceptable to me or to ANLCA,’ lamented Iju Nwabunike.
He hoped to tackle this ugly development by also collaborating with the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Nigeria Customs Service. ‘We will convince them on the imperative of a census of people licensed to operate as customs agents in Nigerian ports by Nigeria Customs Service and the Corporate Affairs Commission. By this we will be able to flush out these foreigners who have taken over our job, our wealth.’
The ANLCA President-elect urged the Federal Government to revisit the ban on vehicle importation through the borders, stating that since there is the demand for these products, coming through the border shouldn’t constitute an illegality if the appropriate duties are paid. ‘If we look at the high rate of demand for imported vehicles, government should allow it, maybe what they should do is to increase duties for luxurious vehicles and apply friendly duties to commercial vehicles. By this, agents in the borders would be busy and happy, while customs and government will make more revenue, eliminating smuggling,’ he submitted.
Iju Nwabunike, the CEO of Mac-Tonnel Nigeria Limited, declared that ANLCA is the umbrella body of all freight forwarding union, having been founded in 1954 while the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria is the government regulator of the profession having been established by an act of parliament.