As Christians mark the celebration of Christmas today, the President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike has admonished freight forwarders to prioritize the payment of accurate Customs duties.
Nwabunike, who made this known in a press statement issued today amid Christmas festivity, stressed that it is Christlike to pay accurate Customs duties.
His words: “In remembering that Christ taught us tax payment (Matt. 17:27) by miraculously causing cash to be obtained from a fish mouth to pay tax-giving to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, I urge us to pay our custom duties accurately, avoid duty evasion and any sharp practice that undermines federal government drive for more none oil revenue.”
According to him, the reality in Nigeria is that oil revenue alone cannot sustain the nation’s economy even as he asserted that the nation could learn from Singapore which has become the maritime capital of the world since 2015.
“Nigeria can become the topmost maritime destination in Africa. We generate the highest cargo throughput with a commanding population of over 200 million. The rise of Singapore is an inspiration to emerging economies like Nigeria, Let’s all contribute to attaining and surpassing the Singaporean feats for ourselves and generations yet unborn,” he said.
Noting that becoming a hub port is important not only to serve the nation’s shipping needs, but also serve other neighbouring countries like; Niger and Chad; he expressed optimism that with the soon-to-be commissioned Lekki Deep Seaport, Nigerian customs brokers are at a vantage professional position to unearth the numerous benefits derivable from the facility.
“Lekki port will be Nigeria’s first fully automated deep seaport with most modern ship to shore cargo handling facilities, close to a free zone serving as a manufacturing hub within same environment with a refinery. This has many opportunities rolled in one space for us as importers, exporters, transporters and traders. This automation underscores the need for customs brokers to improve their knowledge,” he explained.
He, however, averred that the professional functions on freight forwarders touches strongly on collection of government revenue and facilitating trade, describing the professionals as “unsung heroes and strategic partners with government agencies” such as Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) and many others.
The veteran freight forwarder also argued that the attainment and sustaining of over a trillion naira revenue collection by the NCS couldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of licenced customs agents and freight forwarders.
“Let’s bear in mind that as we move cargoes, so are we moving the national economy forward while advancing the cause of international trade, supporting productivity and creating sustainable employments,” he opined.