The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has set a ninety-day agenda for contestants undergoing screening into the various elective executive positions in five chapters of ANLCA western zone, come mid-January 2016.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) Media to the National President of ANLCA Joe Sanni, he called on all aspirants to put aside self interest and render selfless service to members of ANLCA in their various chapters.
“Any executive that is unprepared to serve selflessly, should step aside. This is because, majority of our members have challenges confronting them in their day-to-day operations in the ports. They need a strong executive to take up these challenges and solve them.”
He stated that relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) needs to be enhanced at the chapter levels, adding that implementable decisions should be mutually articulated and agreed on by both parties.
He expressed dismay at the abuse of power by certain Customs officials, who claim superior knowledge of classification and valuation. “We must set up adequate modalities to achieve a mutual agreement with Customs on certain items that are either right or wrong. Customs, should not be revenue collectors only, they should go beyond that brief and facilitating trade, instead of using their uniform to intimidate agents and frustrate them into submission.”
He further enumerated “I want to implore our incoming executives to encourage regular monthly meetings and to aggregate challenges of agents, take them up with relevant authorities, agree on solutions and endeavour to inform members of resolutions immediately.
“They must also institute a process where agents are consistently trained and retrained, to make them confident to defend their jobs, when the need arises. We must stop being subservient to customs officers, whose stock in trade is to intimidate agents.
“The arbitrary charges slammed on importers and agents by shipping companies and terminal operators must be resisted. As well as government agencies that ordinarily have no business extorting money from agents, while performing their statutory functions in the ports.
“Executives must advocate for Customs to issue passwords attached to each license/agency in order to sanitize the ports of overcrowding, check fraud and, ensure that every license is held accountable for misuse. We must make all of these happen within ninety days of taking office.” He challenged
Meanwhile, ANLCA has announced the death of the wife of its immediate past National Publicity Secretary, Dr Obicee Okonkwo. Who passed on the 1stof January 2016, after a brief illness.
May the gentle soul of the departed rest in perfect peace and the Almighty God give Okonkwo the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
By Ifeoma Oguamanam