By Kenneth Jukpor
Amid the celebration of Nigeria’s 60th anniversary yesterday, the Federal Government has been urged to provide fiscal incentives and palliatives for freight forwarders and other logisticians in the country.
The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) made this call in a statement yesterday, noting that freight agents play a crucial role in sustaining the nation’s economy.
Noting that the practitioners are responsible for international trade in oil and non-oil businesses, ANLCA President, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike said, “Our roles in the import, export and supply chain management has made us critical contributors to government revenue drive of attaining over N4 trillion by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and supporting the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in sustaining its N1trillion yearly collection.”
“Our sector holds the capacity for 50,000 direct and ancillary employments from the ports, airports, border stations, delivery chain linking warehouses and market, if properly harnessed. While I call on our members and professionals in our line of business to keep up their patriotic acts of engaging only in legitimate deals and prompt payment of taxes to government, it also rests on the Nigerian State to give us support.”
While commending the Federal Government interventions through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI) to private sector businesses improving on their viability and sustainability, he lamented that no such programme has been designed for the freight forwarding and logistics sector.
The ANLCA President also noted that there is no offer of single digit loans by government tailored towards freight forwarding needs in procuring trucks, maintaining warehouses, investing in logistics aided technology like tracking devises and fleet of motorcycles for E-commerce transactions in a state of difficult traffic situation as what we experience in Lagos.
“We call on the Federal Ministries of Finance, Transport, Trade and Industry, CBN, NCS and others to see us as professionals deserving of state support, not only as potential tax payers because the likely quake or collapse of our sector will adversely affect the country,” he said.
He, however, assured that ANLCA under his watch, will open talks with government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to see how the sub-sector could be integrated into government interventionist financial programmes and support initiatives.
Nwabunike stressed that the independence anniversary should be an opportunity to reflect on the many untapped potentials of the country, especially for professionals in freight forwarding, adding that such reflections should be geared towards making Nigeria greater, united and more prosperous.
“Our professional calling as logistics experts playing critical roles in E-commerce now requires us to think beyond clearing cargoes from the ports and be the chain linking people and business together.”
“ANLCA’s age is 66 (established 1954) , Nigeria is 60. We shouldn’t just be glorying in old age without commensurate maturity to match our many years of existence as a body of great professionals.”
“We must not derail in our drive for success. We should continually see ourselves as part of the move to diversify Africa’s largest economy from a totally oil dependent country to a viable country making sustainable revenue from non oil sector,” he added.