Tony Nwabunike ANLCA chief wants further reduction in agencies at entry-Ports

NAN reports that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said in February, this year, that only eight agencies were allowed to operate at the ports.

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Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Tony Nwabunike play

Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Tony Nwabunike

(Portnews)
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The President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr Tony Nwabunike, has urged the Federal Government to further reduce the number of agencies at the ports.

Nwabunike made the plea when he visited the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Office in Lagos.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said in February, this year, that only eight agencies were allowed to operate at the ports.

The agencies allowed representation at the ports are: NPA, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Security (DSS).

Other agencies include: the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Port Health and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA),’’ he said.

NPA said that the decision was based on the directive of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) which directed the NPA to ensure strict compliance with the Oct. 26, 2011 Presidential directive on agencies permitted to operate at the ports.

NAN also reports that in 2011, government reduced the number of agencies operating at the ports from 14 to six, in order to reduce the hurdles encountered in the cargo clearing processes.

Nwabunike said that it was important to know that bringing in many government agencies into the ports would not help matters.

The Customs agent advised the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to revisit the position paper of a former Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who reduced the number of government agencies at the ports.

He described Iweala’s position paper as a master piece and an appropriate guideline for port procedures.

Nwabunike said that the presence of so many government agencies at the ports “is becoming a very big problem in cargo clearance’’.

He said that the Customs Service was facilitating trade, saying that few weeks ago, the service introduced the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information Service (NICIS 11).

Nwabunike said that the association would have a close relationship with the Nigeria Customs Service, to ensure that the service worked effectively.

He also said that the new executives would sit down with colleagues in the profession to chart out an appropriate way forward.

Nwabunike talked about mergers, saying that “ I think the earlier we begin to merge for the less-privileged clearing and forwarding companies to come up, the better for us’’.

He also advised the Federal Government to encourage the establishment of dry ports and bonded terminals in the Eastern part of the country, to attract more cargo.

According to him, there is a bonded terminal under construction near Onitsha in Anambra – the Anambra Container Bonded Terminal.

He suggested that the Federal Government should assist by providing rail, making the roads motorable, providing infrastructure and dredging the River Niger the more.

Nwabunike said that these were things that would help effectively for easy movement of Eastern cargo.

He, however, said that his mission as president of the association was to ensure effective workings of the ports, to make sure that members of the association were professionalised, ensure that foreigners would not take over their jobs and to check touting.

Nwabunike said that more importantly, the association would work to professionalise the clearing and forwarding business and make members more determined freight forwarders and Customs brokers. 

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