By Steve Agbota
National President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony Nwabunike, has said that the Eastern ports if maximally utilised will create about 20,000 jobs in the South South and South East regions of the country.
Nwabunike stated this in his welcome address at the election of the Executives of Eastern Zone Chapter of the association in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He said that Eastern states with viable ports and strong maritime economic base have no business with poverty.
He, however, enjoined the Federal and State Governments, especially the ones where ports are already situated to consult ANLCA’s expert inputs on how best to utilise their maritime assets for increased productivity.
“Our Strategic Research and Planning unit at the ANLCA headquarters have discovered that not less than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs will be provided in the South South and South East regions of the country if these ports are maximally utilized,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nwabunike called on ANLCA members to exploit the various opportunities created by the $3.4 trillion African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which kicked-off in January 2020.
Nwabunike urged the new executives to mobilise their members (by taking advantage of the training opportunities at the national headquaters of ANLCA to effectively key into the AfCFTA.
“Those to be elected through this meeting should take a cue from the national body and keep abreast of the developments like training and retraining programmes we will be doing directly and virtually later in the year, ”
“As Customs Brokers, we have roles to play in deepening intra-Africa trade and ensuring seamless cargo movement within and outside our continent. Therefore, I urge you all to approach this emerging basket of opportunities with optimism and positive minds towards making the best of it.”
He also tasked members of the association to ensure that they sharpen their ICT capacities, urging them to further embrace learning of international languages like French, Mandarin (Chinese), Arabic and other means of international communication for business transactions.
On the election, Nwabunike, said; “I am pleased with the very peaceful, interactive and robust engagments all the contestants have applied before, during and after the campaigns leading to the elections today. As a body, accept the congratulations of the National Executive Committee (NECOM) for your orderly and brotherly conducts. We are proud of you.”
Nwabunike added that ANLCA is one strong and indivisible group, urging members not to be distracted by the activities of renegades and detractors.
“Our strength is in the collective unity we all profess and uphold irrespective of differences in tribe, language,” he stated.
He urged members not to lower their guard on compliance with COVID-19 protocols, saying the second wave of the pandemic is real.
“ANLCA is at the vanguard of flattening the curve in our ports and within the total logistics chain. Continue to be part of our COVID-19 compliance drive for us all to survive it with our families,” he stressed.