The National President, Association of Nigeria License Customs Agent (ANLCA), Tony Iju Nwabunike, has assured his members of continuous engagement of government, strategically at various levels to achieve better deals for them all.
Nwabunike hinted that the association is looking forward to interfacing stronger with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) on the need for a special loan scheme to help logistics firms in expanding and maintaining fleet of heavy duty and lighter vehicles required beyond coverage of train services.
This was disclosed in a statement made available to the press as his new year message to the Nigeria Customs brokers and freight forwarders.
While appreciating them for being part of the country’s social and economic success in 2020, he hinted that their individual and collective resilience in keeping the ports working and making the total logistics chain functional during the periods of lockdown and movement restrictions, underscores the importance of their relevance as essential service providers.
According to him “Being at work and staying compliant with Covid19 protocols throughout the periods when many others stayed at home are functions of individual self discipline, corporate coordination and selflessness.
“This selfless attributes was a factor driven and held beyond personal gain by you but aimed at ensuring needed cargoes ,including medical supplies exited our ports to their destined locations across the country.
“Even when the Federal Government provided free buses for us to access and exit ports, which in most cases weren’t enough, many of you were at work on your own at extra costs to you. You are appreciated” he added.
He however advise them not to lose guards as they enter the new year, 2021, stating that a second wave of Covid19 has been identified and detected. “It has become imperative that we continue to take responsibility and act in line with clearly spelt out guidelines.
“Our colleagues at all recently reopened land borders who were not at work last year due to border closure are advised to take a cue from customs brokers and freight forwarders at the sea and air ports .
“Taking responsibility is aimed at keeping ourselves safe and avoiding spread of the disease to our loved ones at home and the larger society.
“As you are aware, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2021 Appropriation Law of over N13.5 trillion with a charge to revenue generating agencies to scale up their efforts for collection into government coffers.
“We, as professionals, interface with no fewer than 9 revenue collecting and regulatory agencies of government in the course of our professional services and will therefore be part of Nigeria’s success stories economically, as we have always been, albeit unsung.
“The impact of our activities on Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and many others reinforces our strategic role in government economic diversification agenda and increasing it’s non oil revenue base
“According to figures obtained from the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) and African Development Bank (AfDB) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was projected to rise to 2.9% in 2020 and 3.3% in 2021 depending on implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan(ERGP)
“The country’s GDP for 2019 was $448.12B, a 12.55% increase from 2018 which was $398.16B, a 5.97% increase from 2017. All these have our inputs” he quipped.
He also commended the resilience of the freight forwarders, customs brokers for keeping the chain of commerce unbroken by ensuring circulation of goods and services across the country even within areas of security concern.
“As the world evolve new and faster ways of doing things, we must strengthen the chords of e-commerce, online transactions, virtual meetings and deploying Internet of things (IoT) to maximal economic and productive use.
“You may recall that criminal elements made murderous attempts at human lives and destroyed part of our property at the National Secretariat of ANLCA last year.
“For this, we are moving forward without grudge and on behalf of all members of the National Executive Committee (NECOM), we have forgiven the misdeeds of anyone attempting to disrupt our development agenda for ANLCA and our profession.
“ANLCA is strong and indivisible. It is in reality, the mother of every group that identifies itself as a customs licence or freight forwarding body in Nigeria.
“As mother hen of the sector, our wings are wide enough to cover and cater for all. I hereby call on all aggrieved persons in our organisation to come into our warm embrace as we enter a new year. Let’s work together as one.
“No person or group is perfect. Whoever feels offended or aggrieved by our style of administration should also forgive us any perceived shortcoming on our part. We can explore continually, the channels of dialogue and tolerance as we grow older and stronger” he added.