As the Muslims worldwide celebrate the 2021 Eid-el- fitr to mark the end of the Ramadan fast, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony Nwabunike has congratulated the Nigerian Muslims especially those of them operating in the nation’s maritime sector calling on them to resolve not to return to ungodly things that they abstained from during fasting.
Nwabunike who made this call in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday hailed the selflessness, self-denial and commitment displayed by Muslims in praying for the country at this trying period of economic and security challenges.
He however noted that as the second highest revenue earner, Nigeria’s maritime industry was the nation’s economic low hanging fruits capable of cushioning the temporary effect of reduced oil revenue.
According to him, “This year’s fasting and Eid- El -Fitr celebration are instructive, coming at a time the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had declared that it would deduct N112 billion from oil and gas proceeds for April to ensure continuous supply of petroleum products to the country and guarantee energy security. Implications includes not having oil revenue for the federal government to share with the states and local governments
“This situation is premised on the hike in crude oil prices on the deregulated downstream sector and the need for uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to citizens.”
He also observed that aside the economy, activities in the maritime industry also called for increased security attention which the federal government (through NIMASA) was rising to the occasion with planned deployment of deep blue assets later this month.
“It is anticipated that this move will go a long way in fighting piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and our country’s territorial waters. Safety of vessels, cargoes and crews on our waters has direct impacts on our overall economy since the maritime sector is critical for us in the areas of trade, investment, employment and recreation”, he stated.
The ANLCA President maintained that further development of the nation’s maritime potentials would be a bold step towards economic diversification for job creation, addressing insecurity and positioning the Nigerian ports for hub status in the West and Central African regions.
He added that while the government was consciously trying to address the Apapa gridlock, “I implore that an emergency be declared to expedite the ongoing road construction works” which he said “could come in form of 24 hours work by construction workers especially when the rains subside.”
“Any stop gap solution to Apapa traffic is bound to suffer setback of either extortion or other forms of sabotage until the roads are fully constructed for seamless access to the ports either through Apapa-Oshodi Expressway or Apapa-Ijora axis.
“I also implore that the Port-Harcourt to Eleme axis of the East-West road and the adjoining portion leading to Onne Port, where you have a beehive of maritime activities be attended to in good time for the collective benefits of government and port users”, he concluded.
Photo: ANLCA National President, Iju Tony Nwabunike.
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