National President of ANLCA, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike.

National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike has said that Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokerage Agents are crucial to the realisation of the country’s economic diversification programme from the current over-dependence on revenue from the oil sector.

In a New Year message to stakeholders, he noted that as professionals, the freight agents interface with no fewer than nine revenue collecting and regulatory agencies of government in the course of their professional services, a development that reinforces the fact they play strategic roles in achieving government’s economic diversification agenda and increasing its non- oil revenue base.

He however regretted that the freight forwarders over the years have been part of Nigeria’s economic success stories albeit unsung.

He said: “As you are aware, President Muhammadu Buhari has 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 nine 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, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA and many others reinforces our strategic role in government economic diversification agenda and increasing its 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 2.9per cent in 2020 and 3.3per cent in 2021 depending on implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ERGP.

“The country’s GDP for 2019 was $448.12B, a 12.55per cent increase from 2018 which was $398.16B, a 5.97per cent increase from 2017. All these have our significant inputs.

“I must commend 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.

“Be assured, once again that ANLCA under my watch and by your popular mandate, will continue to engage government strategically at various levels to achieve better deals for all our colleagues.

“We look forward to interfacing more closely with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria CBN and the Bank of Industry Bo) 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. 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 maximum economic and productive use.”

He therefore commended the Freight Forwarders for their contributions in keeping the nation’s reports running throughout last year even in the midst of the coronavirus that ravaged the world and the attendant shutdown of the global economy. He however urged them to be more cautious as the world enters the second wave of the pandemic in their best interest, urging then to be more focused in their jobs.

On the skirmishes within the association, he reminded the stakeholders that some criminal elements made murderous attempts at human lives and destroyed some property at the National Secretariat of ANLCA last year.

He noted that the association has since moved forward without grudge and that on behalf of all members of the National Executive Committee NECOM, has forgiven the misdeeds of anyone attempting to disrupt its development agenda not only for ANLCA, but for the profession.

“ANLCA is strong and indivisible. It is in reality, the mother of every group that identifies itself as a customs license 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. We are one and shall continue to be so”, he also assured.