The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has described 2016 as the worst and “most memorable” for licensed customs agents.
President of the association, Prince Olayiwola Shittu in a chat with SHIPS & PORTS said the year would not be easily forgotten as the economy took a turn for the worst due to the general economic down turn.
“Because of the effect of the down turn in the economy that is why it is memorable. It is a year nobody can quickly forget because nobody anticipated it was going to take a turn for the worst when naira exchange became a problem to everybody.
“We rely on importers to offer our services and as long as they are not importing, so also we will find it difficult to operate. So it affected us in very large extent,” he said.
Shittu expressed fears that the situation might not improve in 2017 if right measures are not put in place to get the economy out of the present recession anytime soon.
He said, “Unless we have a rebound on the economy; it will still continue to be the same in 2017.”
He urged President Mohammadu Buhari to work to get the economy right by strengthening the naira and tackling the prevailing economic recession.
“There is an urgent need for this administration to tackle the issue of the economy because it affects every single sector of the country and the only way people can still have confidence in the administration is to strengthen our naira, that is the most important.
“Even if you want to be a manufacturer today you cannot get foreign exchange to operate. The major issue is the economy and then to tackle corruption because the downturn breeds more corruption,” he said.
He added that the government should also look at reducing the number of agencies at the port.
“All the agencies in the port including those who are hankering to go back should also be looked into because they just want to go back because of what they are getting for themselves,” he said.
On the ban on importation of vehicles through the land borders, he said, “The government don’t think deep and well because they don’t consult with stakeholders. We don’t have to ban vehicles from the border post if we were able to seek out why people prefer to take their vehicles through the neighbouring ports.
“Ghana has a formula which we have recommended to customs four year ago. In Ghana the newer your vehicle, the lesser the duty you pay. We need competition. For example, a policy of giving few people calling themselves manufacturers of Nigeria made vehicle which we know there is no such vehicles is killing the industry.
“All they do is to bring in semi knocked down and assemble them here and they give them opportunity to bring in these vehicles at 20 percent while an individual pays 70 percent. That disparity is the reason why people decide to take short cut, so smuggling will continue,” he said.