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Logistics: ANLCA President Reiterates Need For Special Loan Scheme

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…calls for unity in ANLCA

Pearl Ngwama

 

The National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike, has announced that the body looks 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.

Nwabunike while announcing this at his 2021 New Year message to Nigerian Customs brokers and freight forwarders noted that as the world evolves new and faster ways of doing things, it was imperative to strengthen the chords of e-commerce, online transactions, virtual meetings and deploying Internet of things (IoT) to maximal economic and productive use.

He reminded the freight forwarders and Customs brokers that 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, noting that they play a strategic role in achieving this mandate.

“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), 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 per cent in 2020 and 3.3 per cent in 2021 depending on implementing the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

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

The ANLCA President 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.

He said: “I want to specially greet you for being part of our Country’s social and economic success in 2020 as we all stepped into the New Year 2021.

“Our individual and collective resilience in keeping our ports working and making the total logistics chain functional during the periods of lockdown and movement restrictions, underscores the importance of our relevance as essential service providers.

“Being at work and staying compliant with COVID-19 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.

“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,” he promised.

However, Nwabunike charged his colleagues not to lose their guards in the New Year, 2021, especially as a second wave of COVID-19 had been identified and detected.

“It has become imperative that we continue to take responsibility and act in line with clearly spelt out guidelines,” he emphasised.

He advised ANLCA members at all recently reopened land borders who were not at work last year due to border closure to take a cue from customs brokers and freight forwarders at the sea and air ports.

Nwabunike pointed out that “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 regards the attack on the National Secretariat of ANLCA last year, the President said that all members of the National Executive Committee (NECOM) had forgiven the perpetrators while also requesting for forgiveness from whoever felt offended or aggrieved by the NECOM’s style of administration.

His words: “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. We are one and shall continue to be so; happy New Year 2021.”

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