The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike has called on members of the association to enhance their capacities to handle higher volume of cargoes and prove their capacity in contributing to the non-oil revenue source for the Nigerian government.
Nwabunike who made this call in an address at the election of officers into chapters in the Eastern zone of the association in Port-Harcourt today observed that as the government and maritime business community explore possibilities of decongesting Lagos ports and create emerging ports in Lekki, Badagry, Ibaka, and others, the existing Eastern Ports were the low hanging fruits to actualise getting alternatives to Lagos.
He said, “I recall that last year, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Onne Port complex successfully berthed one of the biggest gearless Maerskline vessel with capacity of 9,971 TEUs at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), Onne.
“This shows the capacity of ports in this part of the country to take higher volume of trade. As customs brokers, I know we are ready on our part. In reality, we have become ready ahead of the government.”
The ANLCA President disclosed that the Strategic Research and Planning unit of the ANLCA headquarters had discovered that not less than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs would be provided in the South-South and South-East regions of the country if these ports were maximally utilised.
“As you all know the terminal with the highest capacity of cargo handling machines in this country is in Onne at the West African Container Terminal (WACT) . It had value of US$2.5 million added to existing equipment as at 2 years ago.
“I am convinced that states with viable ports and strong maritime economic background have no business with poverty. I hereby enjoin the federal and state governments (especially the ones where ports are already situated) to consult our expert inputs on how best to utilise their maritime assets for increased productivity”, he added.
He noted that today’s election of officers into chapters in the Eastern zone would be a milestone in their efforts at making ANLCA a greater association of credible professionals who uphold the tenets of true democracy and representative leadership by popular demand.
According to him, “I am pleased with the very peaceful, interactive and robustly engaging methods all the contestants have applied before, during and after the campaigns leading to the elections today.
“As a body, accept the congratulations of the National Executive Committee (NECOM) for your orderly and brotherly conducts. We are proud of you.
“ANLCA is one strong and indivisible group. Don’t be distracted. Our strength is in the collective unity we all profess and uphold irrespective of tribal, lingual and religious differences.
“These elections are pivots for our ever strong unity. It’s a routine among distinguished practitioners and I must reiterate that you all are ambassadors of the great ANLCA. We all are Victors. No one is a loser in this association.
“Those to be elected through this meeting should take a cue from the national body and keep abreast of developments like training and retraining programmes we shall be doing directly and virtually later in the year.”
He therefore urged all leaders at various levels in ANLCA- chapter, zonal and national to have listening ears and be willing at all times to solve all operational problems brought before them by their members.
Photo: ANLCA’s National President, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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