Nwabunike salute customs brokers
Task practitioners on N13.5tn 2021 revenue target
President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tony Nwabunike has commended customs brokers and freight forwarders for their resilience in the freight industry in 2020, despite daunting challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
Nwabunike in his New Year Message to customs brokers and freight forwarders challenged the practitioners to identify with the federal government 2021 revenue projection of N13.5trillion, in keeping with its statutory role of revenue generation into government coffers.
He said, “I want to specially greet you for being part of our country’s social and economic success in 2020 as we all step 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.”
He said 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.”
He admonished freight forwarders and customs brokers to ensure that they keep their revenue collection role by keying into the 2021 budget proposal of the federal government.
“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.”
He said it is imperative that his constituents recommit to new year national growth, noting that 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).
He further noted that without customs brokers and freight forwarders, the 2019 GDP of $448.12billion, which was recorded a 12.55% increase from 2018 figure of $398.16B, and a further 5.97% increase from 2017, wouldn’t have been impossible without the freight players.
“All these have our 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 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.”
He charged his members and the entire freight forwarding industry to key into modern tools of doing business and to remain abreast of development.
“As the world evolves 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.”
Nwabunike said under his watch, the national leadership of ANLCA will continue to consolidate in mending fences while assuring safety and security of members and association properties.
“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 licensed agent 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.”
The ANLCA boss lauded practitioners for their commitment to the growth of the nation’s port economy amid challenges of inadequate support from the federal government, especially in the area of protocol necessitated by the pandemic.
According to him, “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.”