AtAMJON2021Conf: Nwabunike urges FG to give Customs Brokers 2% incentive on revenue collection

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* FG should recognise the roles of Customs Brokers in economic growth – ANLCA President, Hon Tony Nwabunike

From left:  Hajia Bola Muse, a top official of ANLCA, Dr Collins Farinto, the Vice President of ANLCA, representating the National President, at the event.

Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Prince Tony Iju Nwabunike, has called on the Federal Government to give Customs Brokers incentives for their contributions to huge revenue generation through payments of import duties and other charges for cargo clearance from the ports.

ANLCA President made this known while delivering his speech on the topic, *The Roles of Customs Broker in seamless port operations*, at the Annual Lecture and Award programmes, organised by Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), at Sheraton hotel Lagos.

Speaking through his representative, the Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Collins Farinto, he said government should give Customs Brokers 2% of revenue collection every month to expand their operations and stay afloat in business.

He pointed out :“Available statistics revealed that Customs generated N1.5 trillion in 2020 fiscal year and N1.3 trillion in 2019. As such, Customs Brokers through payments of import duties contributed significantly to the whopping sums generated by NCS.

Therefore, a Customs Broker plays important roles in cargo clearance, which paves the way for revenue collection for optimum economic growth.”

The ANLCA helmsman added :“Government should also give bailout to Customs Brokers who lost their investments to the ravaging effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the lock-down.”

His assertion :“Customs Brokers operating in non-oil sector play important roles not only in seamless port operations, but in enormous contributions to economic growth and development. For instance, the data obtained from Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows that Nigeria’s GDP grew by 5.01% in the second quarter of 2021 economic year; and non-oil sector where the Customs Brokers operate made significant contributions with a growth rate of 6.74%.

Therefore, government should recognise the importance and good roles the Customs Brokers are playing in Nigerian Economy.”

He highlighted factors militating against seamless port operations in Nigeria to include; lack of infrastructure like scanners to speed up cargo examination by Customs and other government agencies at the seaports.

Numerous agencies of governments at the port carrying out similar functions. Perennial traffic gridlock hindering easy access to the seaport. Poor road network within the port vicinity. Lack of functional railway system for immediate evacuation of containers out of the port.

Activities of miscreants within the port corridors. Corruption and sabotage in the system.”

According to him, “Low capacity in Nigerian port is another barrier in the system. This has negatively affected growth in the port industry, as merchant vessels now move to neighbouring countries with deep seaports, instead of coming to Nigeria. Countries like Ghana and Cote d’voire are already enjoying seamless port operations while Nigeria known to be the giant of Africa is still lagging behind.

“Advanced countries like U S, China, France, UK, Denmark, Sweden and Singapore practise seamless port operations; and with large capacity utilisation, but that is not the case in Nigeria. For instance, the port in UK facilitates about 95 percent of the country’s trade. This high level of capacity utilisation is not obtainable in Nigeria at present.

“Apart from low capacity, another factor working against seamless port operations in Nigeria is the human interface causing unnecessary bottlenecks. Port operations in other countries are digitalised, such that the human elements are totally eliminated. In such countries, Customs Brokers carry out transactions from the comfort of their offices because the system is highly automated and movement of people is restricted within the port ambience.”

He informed :“Though the Nigerian government is putting measures in place to rejuvenate the port industry for seamless operations like what obtains in other climes, there are a lot of factors working against the system in Nigeria.

“The way forward is for government to provide scanners and modern facilities to fast track cargo examination and seamless port operations. Activities of government agencies at the seaport should be streamlined, to reduce the number of agencies performing similar functions within the same port. Government and traffic managers should address lingering traffic gridlock at port access roads.

“Government should tackle the issue of poor road network within the port vicinity. Government should provide functional railway system for immediate evacuation of containers out of the ports. Law enforcement agents should curb criminal activities of hoodlums within the port corridors. Issues of corruption and misappropriation of public funds in the system must be checked.”

Furthermore, the ANLCA boss commended AMJON for its initiative in organising the lecture, which focused on seamless port operations in Nigeria.

He stressed that the lecture was timely and the topic well thought-out to address the challenges hindering seamless port operations in Nigeria.

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