The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has drummed support for the consolidation of the freight forwarding companies operating in Nigeria to enable them compete with the counterparts across the globe.
It will be recalled that the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello had about three years ago advocated for the consolidation of freight forwarding companies which did not go down well with the freight forwarders who accused him of plans to push them out business.
However, speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos earlier in the week, the National President of ANLCA, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike observed that those opposing the idea did not understand the concept describing it as a novel idea which if implemented would boost the profession in the country.
According to him, “How many of the Nigerian freight forwarders can boast of handling project jobs? Too many foreign companies especially the Chinese, the Lebanese, Indians are setting up freight forwarding companies. Look at this road construction company – CCECC, they are having a construction company and they are having a freight forwarding company just like any other Lebanese, Chinese and Indian companies here. Why should that be in Nigeria? This can never happen in any other country including Benin Republic.
“And again, can we compete with our foreign counterparts on getting jobs? Too many project jobs here and Nigerians are not actually working on it. Who is working for Julius Berger in this country? Who is working Chevron? Who is working for Total? How many of us can boast of working for these big multinationals? They have in-house freight forwarding and customs brokerage companies which is wrong. We need to tackle and encourage indigenization in this maritime industry.”
On the expected role of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria in the indigenization move, he said, “CRFFN is just coming up. You know, immediately after the first and second Council in 2010, the whole thing fizzled out. But this time around, about fifteen members of freight forwarding and customs brokers are injected into the Council again, they are having this plan and we are writing them a letter so that they can take it to appropriate authority on indigenization.
“People should wait in the comfort of their offices and their warehouses to take consignments just like what is applicable all over the world. But every Tom, Dick and Harry all over the world comes to Nigerian ports to begin clearing. So, the CRFFN itself should actually work on that, we are putting a position paper to that effect.”
He disclosed that the association was trying to do something so unique saying that when they talk about trainings, they can’t train if they don’t have an institute.
“So, we are trying to charter institute of customs brokers. If we can do that, it is an added advantage to us. It is a process. CRFFN took us six years to actualize, so, it is a process. So, if we can get that, fine, if we don’t get that, we will still work with CRFFN on this issue, to begin to train us but when we train ourselves right in-house, it should be a continuous thing unlike what we are talking about CRFFN”, he added.
Speaking on chapters and the Board of Trustees (BOT) elections that were due, the ANLCA boss observed that the association was working on a timetable in that regards noting that they would soon make it public.
“All the chapters that their elections are due, we are going to conduct election for them. We have started sensitizing them for total registration of our members so that they will be qualified to vote and be voted for. So, it is on the process. By February, you will see our timetable come out”, he disclosed.
Photo: ANLCA National President, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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