As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement gets underway, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike has advised members of the association in the Eastern zone to get ready to trade with the proximate Central African countries.
Nwabunike who gave the admonition in address at the election of officers into chapters in the Eastern zone in Port-Harcourt on Tuesday noted that the position of the Eastern ports and chapters held strategic interface opportunities with proximate Central African countries like Cameroun, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon, Equitorial Guinea, Angola, Central African Republic (CAR) and Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC).
According to him, “It has become imperative that you get ready to trade with these countries taking advantage of the window of opportunities to be provided by AfCFTA. Let’s look beyond handling import cargoes alone because Nigeria will be eyeing exports of agricultural produce to some of these countries too.”
Quoting a 2020 World Bank publication, the ANLCA boss stated, “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating. The agreement brings together 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion..
“We as customs brokers have roles to play in deepening intra African trade and ensuring seamless cargo movement within and outside our continent. Therefore, I urge you all to approach this emerging basket of opportunities with optimism and positive minds towards making the best of it”, said.
He also urge them to embrace the learning of international languages like French, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic and other means of international communication for business transactions while they sharpen their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capacity for trade purposes.
He continued, “Don’t forget that our profession brings us in sync with national economy, security and social well-being of all Nigerians. For this reasons I urge you all to raise your degree of compliance, continue to avoid anything unlawful and promote International best practice in all you do.
“I enjoin you to promote compliance and sincerity with importers at all times in your dealings while replicating the overall good rapport we have built at the national level with various government agencies at the chapters and zonal levels.
“Our calls for total compliance with the law and zero tolerance for corruption remain uncompromised now and always”.
Photo: ANLCA National President, Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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